By Ifeanyi Izeze
Every day that passes we see in this country that the dividing between mischief and good intention is so thin that most times our political leaders deceive Nigerians to believe they are the same thing.
If the number two man at the National Assembly, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila could be used to smuggle a bill handed over to him from outside and coerce his fellow lawmakers to undertake the first, second and even heading to third reading with the ultimate aim of passing it the same day they were seeing it for the first time, can anybody convincingly say we have leaders in this country?
Tragically, the conspiracy theories which were being bandied around the world on the real intentions of the trumpeted covid-19 pandemic and the ultimate forced vaccination is now narrowing into a clear pattern of reality before our eyes being championed by those we call our leaders.
How else can anybody describe this bill “Control of Infectious Diseases 2020” if not to say that it is a clear attempt to turn Nigerians into guinea pigs for medical research while taking away their fundamental human rights?
Reading through this bill and looking at the timing of its tabling before the National Assembly, you need no further prompting to be convinced that its sponsors are clearly not interested in any genuine control or prohibition of infectious diseases in Nigeria. Gbajabiamila and his co-travellers might be aiming to satisfy foreign interests to the detriment of Nigerians. Whoever does not see the covert intentions of this bill, is not looking at all!
More worrisome is the fact that the contents of the bill fitted perfectly well into some conspiracy theories that are being peddled on social media locally and internationally on the intention of some suspicious global power interests to create vaccines, forcefully make people to accept these vaccines and go further to implement a means of identification by way of chips implant or any other means they deem fit to identify those that have taken the vaccines.
Is it not curious that Nigeria at this time should be at the forefront and even in a hurry to enact such a legislation to support forced vaccination and certification to identify who has been vaccinated even when no effective vaccine has been created?
Section 3 (2b), 8 and 9 will empower the Director General of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) or his appointed agents to declare as criminal any gathering, Religious or otherwise on mere suspicion of the presence of infectious disease. This absolute discretionary power takes away the Constitutional Powers of the Courts to determine the criminality of an action or otherwise.
Also Section16 of the proposed bill is a very potent instrument against the Church and other Religious organizations. Thus, if in the opinion of the DG any building is deemed overcrowded he can make an order dispersing the crowd and anybody who goes in shall be convicted of an offence without any legal trial in a competent Court of law.
Section 30 and 46 of the Bill is repugnant as it will allow forceful vaccination against a person’s choice and will, this is also unconstitutional as same is against freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
It looks perfectly appropriate now to make this law as the world is presently battling a virus (presumably) that has devastated several nations with no officially announced cure yet. Substantial fear has been stirred up in people across the world by the media about the destructive effect of this disease. It is this fear that the agents of darkness who are behind this bill want to ride on to rush the legislation through.
Nigerians should see it as an insult to our sensibilities that the Speaker and his co-travellers are very adamant to the concerns raised by the Nigerian people and are pushing ahead with passing this piece of legislation into law whether Nigerians like it or not.
Major takeaways from the remark by Gbajabiamila at the floor of the House on Tuesday 5th May, on the controversy generated by the proposed bill, obviously reveals that he is not going back on the bill as Nigeria has to ‘key into a new world order that will sure emerge at the end of the ongoing corona virus pandemic.’
In his own words: “I disagree wholeheartedly with the suggestion that this is not the ideal time to seek reforms of the infectious diseases and public health emergency framework in the country. The weaknesses of the present system have already manifested in the inability of the government to hold to proper account those whose refusal to adhere with Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) guidelines led to the further spread of the coronavirus in Nigeria. We have had people break out from isolation centres, and others, who fully aware of their status chose to travel across state lines on public transport.
“The number of those currently infected by the coronavirus continues to rise alongside the number of those who have died. There is no timeline for when this disease will pass, and nobody can predict when the next public health crisis will occur, just as nobody predicted the present predicament. It bears restating that we do not have in our country, a healthcare system or for that matter, a national economy that is sufficiently robust to withstand the dire consequences of a sustained infectious disease pandemic. We cannot tie our own hands in the fight against this disease.
“Whether we choose to accept it or not, the world we live in has changed irretrievably. There is no ‘normal’ to return to as this present crisis has laid bare the fundamental weaknesses in our systems of law and policy and left our nation at risk of devastating outcomes on all sides. Our current task is first to survive and then to set about building a new world. Inevitably, this demands that we should be willing to consider new ideas, explore novel possibilities, rejecting those ancient shibboleths we have long adhered to without benefit.
“The Control of Infectious Diseases Bill will be put forward to a public hearing where stakeholder contributions will be sought to make improvements to the Bill before it is reviewed and debated by the Committee of the whole. It is from the accumulation of these myriad views, suggestions and good faith critiques from within and outside the House that we will arrive at final legislation that meets the present and future needs of our country, and which we all can support in good conscience.
“The social distancing guidelines under which this House and the whole country operates for the time being means that the usual format of public hearings is not tenable. If a socially distant public hearing becomes workable, we will certainly explore that option. Nonetheless, the House will provide alternative platforms for all Nigerians who desire, to send in written documents that articulate their concerns, make recommendations on amendments and perhaps present other formulations for a new framework for managing infectious diseases in Nigeria. All the contributions we receive will be considered and aggregated to improve the proposed legislation.”
Nigerians should demand for explanations from Mr. Gbajabiamila on why he is trying to trick the country into a very dubious legislation that will erode the entire foundations of our freedom as human beings.
The NCDC should also come clean on whether it is behind the said bill and its intendments.
The next likely thing that will happen at the National Assembly is that the Speaker and his co-travellers will repackage this bill, remove few things and represent it as another piece of legislation to be also passed with the rocket speed of the “Control of Infectious Disease Bill2020”. So we need to closely watch them especially as he has warned that the public hearing will follow the social distancing rules so it’s going to be remote submission of contributions. God bless Nigeria!
(IFEANYI IZEZE writes from Abuja: [email protected]; 234-8033043009)