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BREAKING: Court rejects Melaye’s suit against Infectious Disease Bill

A Federal High Court in Abuja has rejected a suit by Senator Dino Melaye, challenging some provisions of the controversial Control of Infectious Diseases Bill 2020, also referred to as the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Bill.

In a judgment on Tuesday, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu held that her court lacked the jurisdiction to hear and determine issues raised in the suit by Melaye, who represented Kogi South Senatorial District in the Eight Senate.

Justice Ojukwu upheld the preliminary objection filed against the suit by the respondent.

The judge was of the view that the issues raised in suit were not justifiable as a Bill could not be a subject of litigation until it becomes law.

Listed as respondents to the suit are 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 (AGF) and the Inspector-General of Police (IGP).

Justice Ojukwu 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.

Melaye had on May 5, 2020, 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 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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