Journalists Face Hurdles :As Reps Bars Them From Public Hearing On Infectious Bill

by on June 10, 2020

Wednesday plenary at the House of Representatives too a different turn as members of the Press were barred from covering public hearing on the controversial Control of Infectious Disease Bill currently before the House.

Journalist majorly made up of the members of the House of Representatives Press Corps were turned back by operatives of the Sergeant-at-Arms -at-arms making them unable to cover the opening ceremony of the two-day event.

 According to the unidentified operatives, they were told that only the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA, and Channels Televisionwere invited to cover the public hearing blocking journalist from other media organisations from having access. 

The bill sponsored by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamilla, Pascal Obi, Chairman, House Committee on Health Institutions and Tanko Sununu, Chairman of the Committee on Health Services respectively, seeks to repeal the Quarantine Act and enact the Control of Infectious Diseases Bill, make provisions relating to quarantine and make regulations for preventing the introduction into and spread in Nigeria of dangerous infectious diseases, and for other related matters.

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The Bill had been widely criticised, particularly for giving too much power to the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in the management of infectious diseases and pandemic in the country in ways that could infringe on the fundamental human rights of Nigerians.

The Bill amongst others empowered the Director-General of the NCDC to be in charge of the administration of the new Act, notification of prescribed infectious diseases, surveillance, medical examination and treatment, vaccination post-mortem examination, destruction and disposal of infected animals, food and water, isolation of certain persons, prohibition or restriction of meetings, gatherings and public entertainments as well as control of occupation, trade or business. 

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