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Court dismisses Melaye’s suit against NCDC bill

By Idowu Abdullahi

The hope of a former Kogi West senator, Dino Melaye, in challenging the provision of the controversial Control of Infectious Diseases Bill 2020, better known as the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control Bill has been dashed by the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja after the suit was dismissed as the issues in the suit were not justifiable.

Recall that 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.

The former Senator had in the suit argued that the bill 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.

But, delivering his judgment on Tuesday, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu upheld the notices of preliminary objection filed by the respondents against the suit for lack of jurisdiction to hear it.

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).

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

The provisions of the bill being contested by Melaye included the ones 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.

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