Govs kick against proposed Infectious Diseases Bill over lack of wider consultation/ NGF

The Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), has called on the National Assembly to step down the proposed Infectious Diseases Bill over lack of wider consultations with relevant stakeholders.

The position of the governors was contained in a communique issued and signed by the Chairman of the forum, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State on Thursday.

In the communique which followed the NGF’s 8th COVID-19 teleconference meeting on Wednesday, the governors said it was unfortunate that the various state governments who have been at forefront on the fight against the pandemic were sidelined while drafting the bill.

The communique read: “Following an update from the Governor of Sokoto State and Vice Chairman of the NGF, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, on the proposed Control of Infectious Diseases Bill, 2020 introduced by the House of Representatives, Governors raised concern with the lack of consultation with State governments who are at the forefront of the epidemic.

“The Forum resolved that the Bill should be stepped down until an appropriate consultative process is held, including a public hearing to gather public opinion and concerns.

“In the light of this, the Forum established a Committee comprising the Governors of Katsina, Sokoto, and Plateau to lead a consultative meeting with the leadership of the National Assembly on the proposed Control of Infectious Diseases Bill, 2020. The NGF Secretariat was also mandated to comprehensively review the Bill and its implication on States.”

The governors expressed worry over the rising cases of the pandemic in their respective states. They also resolved to make available additional warehouses to store palliatives donated by the private sector and ensure that such donations get to the most vulnerable people in each state.

Highlight of the meeting was the constitution of a three-member committee made up of governors Aminu Masari (Katsina), Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto) and Simon Lalong (Plateau) to meet with the leadership of the National Assembly over the issue.

NVS had earlier reported how the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) also kicked against the bill calling on the lawmakers to step it down.