Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Infectious Diseases Bill: Nigerian youths blow hurt, reveal what will happen to lawmakers

Youth leaders across the country, under the aegis of the Coalition Against Vaccine Trial in Nigeria, CAVTIN, have issued a stern warning to the leadership of the National Assembly over the controversial ‘Control of Infectious Diseases Bill.’

The youths threatened to embark on all actions that are within legal means to ensure that the bill is not passed.

They also threatened to start a recall process of all the lawmakers involved in the attempt to pass the Bill.

The Coalition wondered why the House of Representatives, without warning and with malevolent alacrity, could engage in a plot to push through what it described as a very contentious and troubling bill.
 


The Bill was sponsored by the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, and two other members: Dr. Paschal Chigozie Obi, member representing Ideato North /Ideato South Federal constituency of Imo State and Rep. Sununu Tanko Yusuf, member representing Yauri/Shanga/Ngaski Federal Constituency of Kebbi State.

In a statement signed by Alhaji Aliyu Buba Amshi, North East; Segun Onibiyo, Secretary, Vanguards Of Democracy North Central; Ibrahim Bunu, Middle Belt Patriotic Front; Nze Ugo-Akpe Onwuka (OYI), International Coordinator – Igbo Renaissance Forum (IRF) South East; Sammy Brown, President, Supreme Council Of Ibibio Youths, South South; and Eric Oluwole, Yoruba National Youth Leader; South West, the Coalition said “One begins to wonder why the lightning speed to get the bill passed without being dully scrutinized by honorable members of the House, who incidentally were not presented with copies of the Wonder BILL.

“As if that was not enough, while the citizens were still trying to grasp the movie-like actions playing out, the same controversial bill seeking to repeal the Quarantine Act 2004 sponsored by the House of Representatives, surfaced at the Senate on Tuesday the 5th of May, 2020, under a different title which read ‘National Health Emergency Bill, 2020’,” the Coalition noted.

“We wish to state without equivocation that no matter the nomenclature of the bill, we shall resist it unless Nigerians are adequately educated and sensitized about the benefits of giving such unfettered powers to the Nigeria Centre For Disease Control (NCDC), which includes forcible administering of the COVID-19 vaccine

“We, however, want to know if the vaccine trial has passed Phase 1- 3 before we jumped into offering our citizens as guinea pigs.

“Does Nigeria have the experience and capacity to run a candidate trial?

“We are not going to sound nice nor complementary in presenting our feelings about the unfortunate games that we see being played with the lives of Nigerians at this very critical time, when COVID – 19 and hardship occasioned by the unplanned lockdown action has brought upon the citizens.

“We are by this publication putting the government on notice that Nigerians would not be led to the slaughter like sheep, and citizens cannot to be used as guinea pigs for vaccine trials.

“We shall resist any attempts by any individual, group of persons or organizations that would want to begin vaccine trials of any kind without first of all going through the right protocols and sensitizing the citizenry.”

The youth leaders declared that these uncommunicative gymnastics, change of document title and sleight of mouth to throw dust in the eyes of the citizens was dead on arrival.

According to them, “it is both shocking and annoying that the Nigerian government that has failed to act responsibly and decisively in checking the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic and also failed to transparently distribute palliatives to its suffering citizens would quickly sign on with the World Health organisation to use the same citizens guinea pigs.

“Instead of looking for ways to better the lot of these same citizens who were caught up in an unplanned and excruciating lockdown, we are being entertained by such gross bill.

“We want to advice the National Assembly that it is in their best interest to quickly kill any bill being pushed under various aliases as that would set the country on the path of instability.

“Already, communities across the Six regions of Nigeria are in a panic owing to all the drama brought to this virus trial.

“We are asking the lawmakers to face legislation that would make it possible for citizens’ rights not to be eroded, rather than pushing for such sweeping powers for one agency of government that can obliterate the rights of the citizens!”

They demanded that the legislators immediately kill the Bill as it was not in the best interest of Nigerians.

They threatened to embark on all actions that are within legal means to ensure that this bill is not passed and mobilize constituents to start a recall process for all the legislators “involved in this ongoing parliamentary sleight of the hand to get this controversial bill passed. It is obvious that they are representing themselves rather than those who sent them to the National Assembly.”

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