Court Dismisses Melaye’s Suit Against Infectious Disease Bill

The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Tuesday, dismissed a suit by Senator Dino Melaye, challenging some provisions of the controversial Control of Infectious Diseases Bill 2020.

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, in her judgment. held that her court lacked the jurisdiction to hear and determine issues raised in the suit.

Justice Ojukwu also struck out the name of the IGP as a party to the case on the grounds that the plaintiff failed to disclose any cause of action against him.

Justice Ojukwu, who upheld the preliminary objection filed against the suit by the respondents, stated that the issues raised in the suit was not justiciable, as a Bill could not be a subject of litigation until it becomes law.

The News Agency of Nigeria reported that the Clerk of the National Assembly, the Clerk of the House of Representatives, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) are respondents in the suit.

NAN recalls that Melaye, who represented Kogi South Senatorial District in the Eight Senate, had, on May 5, filed the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/463/2020, urging the court to delete sections 5, 8, 15, 16 and 17 of the bill which he said constituted a violation or would likely violate his rights under the Nigerian Constitution, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights as well the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.

The plaintiff had faulted provisions of the bill, also known as the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Bill, seeking to empower the Director-General of the NCDC to compel anyone to take medical examination or treatment and also collect the blood sample of such person in the case of a public health emergency.

He queried the provision to empower the NCDC to take over any premises and turn them into isolation centres without compensation for the owner.

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