Home Health Ministry of Health, NCDC Condemn Reps Bill, Demand Existing Laws Amendment

Ministry of Health, NCDC Condemn Reps Bill, Demand Existing Laws Amendment

by John Asama
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The House of Representatives, on Thursday, recorded more criticisms over the controversial the Quarantine Act (Repeal and Enactment) Bill 2020, also known as the Control of Infectious Diseases Bill 2020.

Both the Federal Ministry of Health and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, who are expected to be the biggest beneficiaries of the proposed law, faulted various parts of the bill.

Recall that on Wednesday the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, the Nigerian Labour Congress/Trade Union Congress, the Nigerian Medical Association and several other unions and civil society organisations, condemned the proposal.

The Director-General of the NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, had said a joint presentation with the Federal Ministry of Health would be made on Thursday.

At the continuation of the hearing on Thursday, the Minister of Health, Prof, Osagie Ehanire, and Ihekweazu criticised the bill.

In his presentation, the DG of NCDC pointed out that the bill, if passed into law, would accord to much powers to his office.

Ihekweazu said, “The NCDC also states that the bill, as drafted, gives excessive powers to the Director General of the NCDC. It should be clearly evaluated for the future of our country.

“Despite the need for expediency, it is our submission that this laudable bill deserves deeper stakeholders’ engagement which we now suggest should be intensified.

“We will have a bill or a review of existing legislation that will serve us into the future, protect future generation and strengthen health security in Nigeria.

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In his presentation, Ehanire urged the House to step down the bill and amend the existing laws.

While also warning that the bill would arrogate to much powers on the DG of NCDC, Ehanire said the proposal failed to recognise the need for a board and to create one.

The minister said, “Consequently, it is recommended that the provisions of the proposed bill be incorporated into the NCDC Act by amending the NCDC Act 2018, thus giving it more powers and responsibilities.”

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