Wednesday, 20 May 2020 16:53

Infectious Diseases Bill Suit: Counsels for House Clerk, AGF, IGP fail to appear in court

Court shifts hearing to June 1st

 

Hearing in the suit filed by the former senator representing Kogi West, Dino Melaye, against the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, over the controversial Control of Infectious Diseases Bill 2020 has been shifted to June 1st by the Abuja division of the Federal High Court.

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu gave the adjournment to enable respective parties listed in the suit to be served with the necessary processes pertaining to the case.

 

When the matter was called on Wednesday, counsel to the Speaker of the House of Representatives Dr Kayode Ajulo informed the court that his client was yet to be served with any of the processes.

He was, however, served in court by the counsel to Senator Melaye, Okoro Nkemakolam.

Meanwhile, apart from the Speaker of the House of Representatives, who was represented in court by his counsel, the four other respondents listed in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/463/2020 had no legal representation in court.

 

They are the Clerk of the National Assembly, the Clerk of the House of Representatives, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami; and the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu.

The Bill sponsored by Gbajabiamila and other lawmakers, Pascal Obi and Tanko Sununu, seeks to empower the Federal Government to requisition and convert any property in the country, including private property, into isolation centres.

The matter was brought under the fundamental rights enforcement to the dignity of his person, personal liberty, right to private and family life, right to freedom of movement and right to own immovable property in Nigeria.

It was specifically brought pursuant to Sections 34 (1), 35 37, 38, 40, 41 (1), 44, and 46 (1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as altered; (and) Articles 4, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12 and 14 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights.

The suit filed by his counsel, Okoro Nkemakolam, is seeking a declaration that sections 3(8),5(3),6,8,13,15,16,17,19,23,30 and 47 of the Control of Infectious Diseases Bill 2020, which is currently being debated at the floor of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly, is in breach, and or is likely to breach the fundamental rights of the Applicant as provided for in sections 33, 34,35,37,38 and 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Articles 4, 6,7,10,11,12 and 14 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap A9 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, Articles 2(3),7,8,9,12,17,21 and 22 of The International Covenant On Civil And Political Rights,1976, Articles 3,5,8,9,10,12,13,17 and 20 Of the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights,1948 and are therefore unconstitutional, illegal, wrongful and amount to flagrant abuse of the fundamental rights of the Applicant.

He prayed the court for an order declaring the provisions of sections 3(8),5(3),6,8,13,15,16,17,19,23,30 and 47 of the Control Of Infectious Diseases Bill 2020 invalid and unconstitutional, as same constitutes a gross abuse of the fundamental rights of the Applicant and or will likely be infringing upon the fundamental rights of the Applicant if eventually passed into law.

The suit states:

‘An order directing the 1st – 3rd respondents to delete the provisions of sections 3(8),5(3),6,8,13,15,16,17,19,23,30 and 47 of the Control of Infectious Diseases Bill 2020, as same are inconsistent with sections 33, 34,35,37,38 and 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), Articles 4, 6,7,10,11,12 and 14 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap A9 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, Articles 2(3),7,8,9,12,17,21 and 22 of The International Covenant On Civil And Political Rights,1976, Articles 3,5,8,9,10,12,13,17 and 20 Of the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights,1948 and constitute a gross abuse of the fundamental rights of the Applicant if eventually passed into law.

‘An order of injunction restraining the respondents, whether, by themselves, their agents, employees, servants, privies and or howsoever called, from further proceeding with, or continuing with further debates with respect to sections 3(8),5(3),6,8,13,15,16,17,19,23,30 and 47 of the Control of Infectious
Diseases Bill 2020, which provisions breaches and or are likely to breach the fundamental rights of the Applicant as provided for sections 33, 34,35,37,38 and 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Articles 4, 6,7,10,11,12 and 14 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap A9 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, Articles 2(3),7,8,9,12,17,21 and 22 of The International Covenant On Civil And Political Rights,1976, Articles 3,5,8,9,10,12,13,17 and 20 Of the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights, 1948.’

‘In a 20-paragraphs affidavit in support of the motion, he personally deposed to, Melaye avers that section 15 of the Bill, which empowers the Minister of Health, to declare any premises whether public or private as an isolation centre without the payment of compensation, infringes or is likely to infringe upon my right to own properties in Nigeria.

‘That I also know as a matter of fact that sections 16,17 and 19 of the Bill, by which Director-General of NCDC can declare any building or gathering as overcrowded, and to without any court order or warrant, enter the premises using such force as he deems necessary to disperse the group and close the building, amount to infringement or is likely to infringe upon my rights to freedom of association and privacy.

‘That I know as a matter of fact that section 19(5) of the Bill which makes the decision of the Minister of health final, directly deprives me of the right of access to the court of justice, contrary to the provisions of Article 7 African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap A9 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.’

 

Sun

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