Speaking on Wednesday during the opening session of the public hearing on the proposed bill by the House, Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, picked apart the Control of the Infectious Disease Bill before the House of Representatives.
According to Governor Fayemi the Bill gives excessive authority to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), upsetting the balance of administration.
Fayemi said that as Chief Executive Officer of the state, a governor should by default have the power to declare infectious cases and quarantine— without NCDC approval.
“A situation where state governors do not have any power to make regulations in their states in the event of an outbreak of an infectious disease or to declare any part of the state an infectious area is not only inimical to the nation’s federalism but also a recipe for disaster which cannot be managed by NCDC”, he stated.
Fayemi further added that the proposed Bill is a slight on Governor’s authority, and needs critical reviewing.
“This bill appears to vest overbearing discretionary powers on NCDC Director-General. So for us, we believe that there are a lot of provisions in the bill that must be reviewed.
“Provisions along the lines of Section 8 of the Quarantine Act should be inserted in the bill to allow state governors and Local Government Chairmen the powers to declare a place to be an infectious area and to make regulations,” he said.
Governor’s Fayemi’s remarks come two days after the Senator representing Enugu North Senatorial District, Senator Chukwuka Utazi, said there is no going back on the Health Emergency Bill in the National Assembly.
Utazi, who is the main Advocate for the National Health Emergency Bill, noted that the National Assembly is legislating on the bill in order to fill what he described as “gaps in the health sector”.