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I’m Personally Not In Favour Of Drafting A Bill In The Middle Of A Crisis – NCDC DG

Ronke Idowu  
Updated April 30, 2020
(File) NCDC Director-General, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu.

 

 

The Director-General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has reacted to the proposed NCDC bill by the House of Representatives noting that he personally believes that the time of crisis is not the time to draft a bill.

Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu said this on Thursday in Abuja while responding to questions from journalists at the Presidential Task Force briefing on COVID-19.

The NCDC boss said, although the bill shows that the lawmakers are concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic and trying to find solutions, the bill need requires consultation to be able to serve Nigeria both in present and in the future.

“To be honest I saw the bill just like everyone else, circulating on social media. I take it in a good way. I think the members of the House of Reps and everybody is concerned about the situation and what we have found ourselves in. They are doing their very best to come up with the only solution they can come up with which is creating new laws.

“I take it positively but the bill requires more consultation. I’m personally not in favour of drafting a bill in the middle of a crisis. I think we need to get over the crisis and use the momentum to engage with all stakeholders to come up with a bill that will really serve this country.

“We must think through step carefully and come up with a bill fit for purpose and serves us now and into the future,” he said.

 

A Bill for an Act to repeal the Quarantine Act, and enact the Control of Infectious Diseases bill on Wednesday passed second reading in the House of Representatives.

The bill which was sponsored by the Speaker of the House,  Femi Gbajabiamila seeks to empower the NCDC and make it more proactive.

Gbajabiamila while leading the debate said the NCDC had very little powers to carry out its mandate even though it is a body with great professionals.

The introduction of the bill has however drawn criticism with many people on social media calling for it to be dropped. As of Thursday afternoon, the top Twitter trend in Nigeria was #StoptheNCDCBill.