Action Group on Free Civic Space in Nigeria Participates in Public Hearing on the Control of Infectious Disease Bill at the National Assembly

On Wednesday, June 10, 2020, public hearing on the “Control of Infectious Disease Bill” held at the House of Representatives, National Assembly Complex, Abuja. Flights restrictions as a result of corona virus disease (COVID-19) could not allow Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC) to be physically present at the hearing . However, Action Group on Free Civic Space which ADVOCACY CENTRE is a member was presented YEAC and other members across the country who could not attend for the same reason. The Action Group was represented at the Public Hearing by three members of the Action Group. They are;

1. Godwin Kingsley
2. Justin Gbabir
3. Ebere Precious

According to these our representatives at the hearing, the meeting was attended by members of the House of Representatives and representatives of the Nigerian Governor’s Forum, and representatives of various Civil Society Groups. The following notable personalities were present

His Excellency, The Speaker House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, represented by the leader of the House Honorable Alhassan Addo

The Excellency, the Executive Governor of Ekiti State and Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, Governor Kayode Fagbemi, His Excellency the Executive Governor of Plateau State and Chairman of Northern Governors Forum, Governor Simon Lalong, The Chairman Senate Committee on Health Distinguished Senator Yayaya Ibrahim Oloreigbe, The Chairman Senate Committee on Primary Healthcare Services and Communicable Diseases Distiguished Senator Chukwuka Utazi,the Chairman House Committee on Health Care Services, Honourable Dr. Yusuf Tanko Sununu, The Chairman House Committee on Health Care Institutions, Honourable Paschal Obi, All Members of the Joint Committee and Honourable members of the house of representatives, The Director General of the Nigerian Center on Disease Control, The Director General of NAFDAC, The Representative of the Inspector General of Police, The Executive Secretary of Nigerian Medical Association, Representatives from various Civil Society Organizations and interest groups.

According to the Speaker, the public hearing is necessary to uphold transparency and accountability in the passage of the controversial Control of Infectious Diseases Bill into law. Presentations and remarks were made by members of the Senate Committee and House Committee on Health and also by the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum. Also, stakeholders from various groups presented their memorandum and position papers.

The Action Group on Free Civic Space was the 8th group to make a presentation. The memorandum was presented by Godwin Kingsley. Due to time constraints, Godwin highlighted the groups observations and recommendation on the Bill citing some relevant sections from the factsheet and how they violates the citizen’s rights.

He concluded urging the House to stop the passage of the Control of Infectious Disease bill except there is a review of the excessive powers granted to the NCDC Director General, the Minister of Health and other law enforcement officers and a redraft of several provisions of the bill that infringes on human rights.

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