Tunde Oyesina Abuja The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja yesterday refused the application filed by Senator Dino Melaye seeking to stop the House of Representatives from deliberating on the Infectious Diseases Bill currently before the lawmakers.
The trial judge, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, turned down the request to halt proceedings in the bill at the lower chamber holding that “doing so is not justiciable”. Melaye had challenged the bill initiated by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, on the grounds that the proposed bill is inconsistent with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution Listed as Respondents are the National Assembly,
Clerk of the House of Representatives, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the Inspector General of Police (IG).
Melaye also predicated his action on the grounds that the bill if passed into law, would breach his fundamental rights to own property among others. Specifically, he questioned Section 13 of the proposed bill which empowers the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to order the arrest of anybody suspected to have Covid-19 and refuses to make himself available for medical examination.
The applicant also queried the power of the NCDC DG to take over anybody’s house and convert it into an isolation centre without an order of court. However, delivering ruling in a preliminary objection against the suit argued by Dr Kayode Ajulo on behalf of the speaker, Justice Ojukwu agreed that Melaye’s case is not justiciable for now.