By Olanrewaju Adesanya
The Lagos State House of Assembly has passed the Emergency Coronavirus pandemic bill 2020 into law in order to effectively contain the Coronavirus pandemic in the state.
The private member bill initiated by the Speaker was presented on the floor of the chamber by the Deputy Majority Leader,Hon. Noheem Adams and was repeatedly commended by lawmakers at the plenary session held yesterday at the Chambers.
While laying the report, The Chairman, House Committee on Health, Hon Hakeem Sokunle said that the bill number 8 of the house scaled three readings in quick succession given the urgent requirements, to ensure the bill is speedily dispensed with.
He explained that the bill would aid the containment of the coronavirus pandemic and gives the Governor authorisation to spend a kick-off expenditure not more than N20bn and to make recourse back to the house before any regulations.
The Chairman added that the bill also affords a fine of N100,000 for violation of a close down or stay at home order, as well as one month incarceration in the correctional centre or three month community service.
He said that where the offences is not spelt out, it attracts N200,000 fine and also allows leadership of the various arms of government to structure their own restrictions format.
Hakeem said that the section 8 of the bill made provision for the Coronavirus trustfund, the bill also empowers the Governor to declare state of emergency up to three months.
During the deliberation after the laying of the Report, Hon Adedamola Kasunmu, representing Ikeja constituency 2, noted that it is important to alleviate the impact of Coronavirus on the economy of Lagos.
Kasunmu explained that the bill would enable the executive to expend necessary funds to contain the virus by providing adequate facilities in the state owned hospitals.
Representing Eti-Osa constituency 2, Hon Gbolahan Yishawu said urged Lagosians to bear with the government on the pandemic.
He, however, asked the government to broaden the scope of capturing more cases in the state in order to put it on proper check.
“We urge Lagosians to bear with us. Pandemics are not new but the way government and people react to it matters. It is in 150 states in the world.
“Lagos recorded the first case; So, they should look at the possibility to broaden it to capture much more” He said.
Hon. Victor Akande representing Ojo I constituency, was quick to add the quick passage bill enable the quick containment of the virus as adequate measures will be afforded.
Representing Somolu constituency I, Hon. Rotimi Olowo noted that the spread of the virus is unprecedented; hence, stringent measures should be taken to forestall the pandemic.
He also added that the bill should be alive for live.
Representing Ibeju-Lekki constituency 1, Hon Fatai Mojeed counseled that the Governor’s pronouncement should be binding on all, including the traditional medicine practitioners, the churches and mosques.
The Chief Whip of the House, Hon.Mojisola Meranda noted that there should provisions in the law to ensure patients of the virus who might have been certified okay after the treatment should be reabsorbed back into the society.
Hon.Temitope Adewale added that abandoned government buildings in the state can be converted into testing centres as well isolation place where they exist.
He also counseled that government should make assidous moves to fix roads now that vehicular traffic is low.
Adding stimulus packages should also be given to Lagosians as they stay at home.
In his ruling, The Speaker of the House, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa stated that the contingency plan afforded in the budget cannot sort it out.
He explained that the House is creating an an opportunity and guide the Governor from acting outside the law, saying that the government needs to be seen doing something by making effective pronouncements.
“Governor can make a recourse back to the house if need be. If the budget procedure take much time that can’t suffice,the kick off fund will help.
“The trustfund is a make shift,those in Epe,Ikorodu and Agege need be catered for,medical practitioners who have retired can also be called back to assist,well kitted and equipped.
“Empowering Governor to make pronouncement unguarded should not be allowed unchecked” The Speaker said.
The House adjourns sitting till April 2nd,2020.