By Peter Amine
Jos – Equity International Initiative (EII), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), has urged the National Assembly to let the views of Nigerians concerning the infectious diseases bill count.
EII Country Director, Mr Chris Iyama, who made the remark on Thursday at news briefing in Jos, said the lawmakers were the people’s representatives and should, therefore, listen to them.
Iyama said that the lawmakers should consult widely with their constituents to know what they felt before passing bill; otherwise it may be efforts in futility.
“The lawmakers were sent there by the people, we have every right for them to listen to us.
‘’The timing of the bill is not right, they should wait till when Nigeria is completely healed of this COVID-19 pandemic,’’ he said.
Iyama added that many Nigerians were of the view that the bill should be dropped or else Nigerians would be forced to protest.
In the same vein, Mr Steve Aluko of Civil Liberties Organisation, said that laws should be a fair representation of the feelings of Nigerians and not the other way round.
“We must ask why the National Assembly is rushing to present a bill when the pandemic is on, when a vaccination is not gotten,” he said.
Also, Mr Gad Shamaki of Centre for Advocacy, Justice and Rights said that the bill would not be of any value to the country at this point in time.
Shamaki said that Nigeria’s problem was not absence of laws but lack of implementation of existing laws.
According to him, the intention as it were, was not to solve the existing problem, but rather cause new ones.
He suggested that rather than concentrate on enacting a new law, efforts should be geared toward empowering the country’s research institutions to proffer solutions to the problems.
Mr Bello Lukman, an Editor with Unity FM Jos, said that the bill sought to give too much power to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) even at the expense of state and local governments.
According to him, there would be constitutional crises because the powers of the NCDC boss may usurp those of state governors, if care is not taken. (NAN)