By Dan Ugwu.
WHEN the House of Representatives resumed plenary sessions on Tuesday, April, 28th, 2020, the Lawmakers debated on a number of issues including the infectious diseases control bill which seeks to repeal the Quarantine Act of 1926 and provide for new regulations that would enable Nigeria adequately manage situations like the coronavirus pandemic.
The bill sponsored by House Speaker; Femi Gbajabiamila has 82 sections and has passed a second reading in the House of Representatives. Majority of the bill articles were centered on strengthening the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and make it more proactive and “not just reactive and function when there is an outbreak.”
Key highlights of the proposed law dealt on:
- Powers for arbitrary arrest and ‘whatever that is necessary
- Any place could be declared as an isolation centre.
- Six months jail for first time offenders, N2m fine for false information from blood donors.
- Unchecked powers for the NCDC DG.
- Exclusion of State Governors
However, for the benefit of trending discussion. Section 47 of the bill empowers the NCDC DG to direct anyone not vaccinated for a disease during an outbreak to do so. This section deals on Compulsory Vaccination for Every Child.
Other subsections of the bill suggest the possession of the yellow fever card as mandatory to move from one country to another, the bill seeks to make similar provisions for international travelers leaving or arriving in Nigeria.
By this, travelers are expected to “have undergone vaccination or other prophylaxis against all or any of the diseases as may be prescribed.” This means they are to produce valid international certificates of vaccination or other prophylaxis to authorities before travelling.
Excerpts of this Section 47 on vaccination read in Part:
It states: 1. In an outbreak or a suspected outbreak of any infectious disease in any area in Nigeria, the Director General may by order direct any person or class of persons not protected or vaccinated against the disease to undergo vaccination or other prophylaxis within such period as may be specified in the order.
2. In addition to the power conferred by subsection (1), where it appears to the Director that —
(a) an outbreak of an infectious disease in any area in Nigeria is imminent; and …
(b) It is necessary or expedient to do so for the securing of public safety, the Director may by order, direct any person or class of persons not protected or vaccinated against that infectious disease to undergo vaccination or other prophylaxis within such period as may be specified in the order.
3. Any Order made under subsection (1) or (2) may specify the person by whom and the way the vaccination or other prophylaxis is to be carried out.
4. Where any Order is made under subsection (1) or (2), the Director General shall cause notice of the effect of the order to be given in such a manner as he thinks necessary for bringing it to the notice of all persons who in his opinion ought to have notice thereof.”
This may help to clear off the allusive and oblique remarks from the fox’s hoax.
- Script Credit: @DanUgwu