The Senate said it has not received official communication from the Nigeria Governors’ Forum to step down the legislation of the Infectious Diseases Bill.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Ajibola Basiru, made this known via Twitter on Thursday evening.
Newsmen report that the NGF had in a communiqué asked the National Assembly to step down the Bill to allow for wider consultations with stakeholders.
“Following an update from the Governor of Sokoto State and Vice Chairman of the NGF, Aminu Tambuwal, on the proposed Control of Infectious Diseases Bill, 2020 introduced by the House of Representatives, governors raised concern with the lack of consultation with state governments who are at the forefront of the epidemic. The Forum resolved that the Bill should be stepped down until an appropriate consultative process is held, including a public hearing to gather public opinion and concerns,” the communiqué read.
But the House of Representatives faulted the NGF for asking the federal parliament to step down the bill, saying “federal parliament does not legislate for states”.
Also reacting on Thursday, Basiru said, “As to inquiry on what is the position of the Senate to the newspaper report on the call for suspension by Governors of the Infectious Disease Bill.
“The Senate does not act on newspaper reports. When and if a communication is received by the Senate from appropriate channel, it will be considered democratically in accordance with the procedure of the Senate and a decision taken by majority as is expected in a democracy.
“The Bill is yet to be read the second time at which stage, by Senate Orders, the principles of the Bill will be discussed and a decision taken on whether the Bill should proceed for further legislative processes.
“The governors may engage the Senators in their respective states on whatever objections they have on the Bill so that it may be taken up on their behalf by the Senators from their states during the second reading.”
The Control of Infectious Diseases Bill 2020, undergoing legislation on the floor of the National Assembly, makes provisions for the regulation and prevention of the spread of infectious diseases in the country.
The proposed law empowers police to arrest, quarantine violators without warrant; prescribe jail term for violation of quarantine by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, empowers the Federal Government to convert private properties to isolation centres, amongst others.