Human Rights Writers of Nigeria, HURIWA, has asked the National Assembly to throw away the bill being proposed to repeal the Quarantine Act of 1926, describing it as toxic, poisonous and unconstitutional.
The rights group said the Bill will turn the common people of Nigeria into mechanical zombies and guinea pigs of vaccine manufacturers funded by the American billionaire, Bill Gates, saying it is worse than a poisonous chalice.
According to HURIWA, the Bill 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, is essentially seeking to repeal the Quarantine Act, 1926 which came into force on April 27, 1926, and empowers the President or Governor of a State to make regulation as to quarantine in respect of and for prevention of dangerous infectious diseases.
HURIWA noted that Nigeria also has a Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Establishment) Act, 2018 (simply referred to as the NCDC Act) already.
It then wonders whether there is a need for the present bill especially at the moment where the need of the nation is more economic than legal, more so that bill introduces some very controversial issues which are addressed shortly.
“In my view, the provision in section 40 of the Constitution is clear, direct, and unambiguous. It is formulated and designed to confer on every person the right to assemble freely and associate with other persons,” HURIWA said in a statement signed and made available on Tuesday by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko.
“I am therefore persuaded by the argument of Mr. Falana that by the combined effect of sections 39 and 40 of the 1999 Constitution as well as Article 11 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the right to assemble freely cannot be violated without violating the fundamental right to peaceful assembly and association.
“I agree with Mr. Falana that violation can only be done by the procedure permitted by law, under section 45 of the Constitution, in which case there must be a state of emergency properly declared before these rights can be violated.
“The Public Order Act so far as it affects the right of citizens to assemble freely and associate with others, the sum of which is the right to hold rallies or processions or demonstration is an aberration to a democratic society. It is inconsistent with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution.
“Another issue which the Bill seeks to legalize is compulsory vaccination against infectious diseases. Section 47 of the bill requires some form of vaccination or prophylaxis not only in case of an outbreak of infectious diseases but also in the case of an expected outbreak.
“Section 48 requires a record of all vaccinated persons to be kept and to crown it all, section 51 makes it a criminal offense for failure to comply with part 4 of the Bill which deals with compulsory vaccination or prophylaxis in case of or against an outbreak of infectious diseases.
“Section 30 also requires vaccination as a condition for international travel in and out of Nigeria. Section 46 (1) mandates the parents of every child to ensure the vaccination of their children against the diseases.
“It must be noted first and foremost that the human body is inviolable and every human being has inherently inalienable right to determine what their body accepts or otherwise. It is upon this principle that a lot of other legal principles regarding the humans were enunciated including the tort of battery.
“The practice of compulsory vaccination runs contrary to medical ethics. Rule 19 of the Medical Ethics in Nigeria, 2008 states that an essential element of good medical practice is the recognition by the attending physician or dental surgeon, of the inherent right of the patient to his body and life.
“The other issue which arises out of section 30 of the Bill is the prohibition of movement in and out of Nigeria in the absence of production of a vaccination certificate.
“[This] section of the Bill violates Section 41 of the Constitution which provides for the right to freedom of movement in the following words: every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in part thereof, and no citizen of Nigeria shall be expelled from Nigeria or refused entry thereto or exit therefrom.
“Nothing in subsection (10 of this section shall invalidate any law that is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society – (a) imposing restrictions on the residence or movement of any person who has committed or reasonably suspected to have committed a criminal offense in order to prevent him from leaving Nigeria; or
(b)providing for removal of any person from Nigeria to any other country to –
(i) be tried outside Nigeria for any criminal offense, or (ii) undergo imprisonment outside Nigeria in the execution of the sentence of a court of law in respect of a criminal offense of which he has been found guilty.”
“Moreover the Bill gives so much power to the Director-General of the NCDC who is merely an appointee of the President and not an elected official directly accountable to the people.
“Under section 16, he can order an abatement of overcrowding in a building or even order closure of premises. He also has powers to prohibit gatherings or associations etc under section 19.
“Under section 39 he is the approving authority for the importation of vectors.
“He is also empowered under section 44 of the Bill to order the examination of persons coming into Nigeria just like he has powers under section 47 to order vaccination, postponement or exemption of anyone from vaccination. Under section 61 headed ‘Extraordinary powers in relation to emergency measures’, he has unlimited power to take any emergency measures which are not defined, yet it is a criminal offense to violate those measures. This bill is actually the making of a monster in the person of the Director-General.
“One last area of this bill which must not be ignored is the criminalizing of any and every violation of any order or directive of the DG without consideration of the underlying or inherent factors or peculiar realities of our failed system which predispose people to breach or make observance of those orders or directive impracticable as is being currently experienced in Nigeria.
“If in the present situation without draconian legislation such as this, Nigerians were brutalized, had their properties destroyed and killed, one wonders what would happen if this kind of bill sees the light of day. It is a Bill which indirectly seeks to worsen the human rights violation in Nigeria.
“The Bill also discriminates against persons who have already recovered from infectious disease by creating legal stigmatization. For instance, section 13(2) provides for the isolation of several persons including persons who have already recovered from an infectious disease.
“It is apt at this juncture to note that one is not unmindful of the provisions of section 45 of the Constitution which provides that nothing in sections 37, 38, 40 and 41 of the Constitution shall invalidate any law that is ‘reasonably justifiable in a democratic society’ in the interest of defense, public safety, public order, public morality or public health; or for the purpose of protecting the rights and freedom of other persons. The operative words of the section are ‘reasonably justifiable in a democratic society.’
“A bill that seeks to take away the very core of a man’s being which is free will and also impose the will of a few powerful elites upon not only the majority of Nigerians but also of the global medical community cannot pass the test of being reasonably justifiable in a democratic society.”
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