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ICYMI: NASS REPUBLIC: Gbaja’s ‘draconian’ bill, two other stories, and a quote to remember

2020 budget to be passed on November 28

Seated in his four-year term compartment, which is in opposite direction to about 360 members, arrayed in a traditional overflowing blue attire with striped cap, the veteran lawmaker and speaker of the lower chamber of the national assembly, Femi Gbajabiamila defends the controversial infectious disease bill he co-sponsored.

The proposed law is another copied Singaporean law, just like the frivolous social media law introduced in the upper legislative sponsored by Mohammed Musa.

In the wake of the ravaging COVID-19 outbreak in the country, the House of representatives in a bid to halt further spread of the disease introduced a bill with a long title – “Control of Infectious Disease Bill 2020: A Bill For An Act to Repeal the Quarantine and Make Regulations for Preventing the Introduction into and spread in Nigeria of Dangerous Infectious Diseases and for Other related Matters.”

The bill which has scaled through the second reading covers different kinds of infectious diseases such as coronavirus, dengue fever, polio, measles, malaria, polio, hepatitis, AIDS, among others.

The draft has drawn the anger of the public because of its ‘draconian’ provisions, some of which include ‘seizing’ properties and converting them to isolation or treatment centres. However, the unyielding lawmaker and his ‘party people’ have turned deaf ears, only conceding that the proposed bill will be subjected to public hearing.

Many are want to believe that the 82 sections bill is typical of the failure of the Nigerian leadership to be strategic and proactive in the management of the several opportunities and challenges confronting the country.

It will be interesting to see how the bill survives at the public hearings. Will the peoples’ voice prevail? Time will tell.


NASS MEMORY LANE

Who said:

“Look, this is not Bourdillion, I will beat you up …. Impregnate you and nothing will happen?”

Answer: See end of post


Two other stories

Even our Senators are afraid of 5G!

Criticisms have trailed the fifth-generation network, better known as 5G in Nigeria and abroad, with many influential personalities such as Pastor Chris Oyakhilome (although he looks to have backtracked on his statement) evangelising against its deployment in the country.

It is rumoured that the 5G network, which is a significant improvement on the 4G technology is one of the core causes of the COVID-19 pandemic which has left over 2,500 people across the globe dead.

The Nigeria red chamber last Tuesday began probe of the status of the alleged coronavirus causing 5G network in Nigeria while asking the Federal Government to suspend its deployment and installation.

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In a motion sponsored by Uche Ekwunife (PDP, Anambra Central) on “the present status of 5G network” in the country, she advised against the deployment and installation of the technology because of its health hazards.

Other legislators have also kicked against the 5G network while the joint committees on public health, communications, science and technology and cybercrime have been asked to investigate and submit their report within four weeks.

The 5G palaver is looking all amusing. It should not be a surprise if our lawmakers are the very first to place order for 5G-compliant gadgets when the project is fully executed. Something in the horizon suggests that would most likely happen. After all, did they not recently order the latest cars in town? Who knows, the cars might even be 5G driven!

The follow-follow bill in Senate

Another bill that set tongues wagging last week was a contentious bill that in the upper chamber similar to that proposed by Gbajabiamila in the House of Reps.

Both bills which are being pushed speedily without recourse to established traditions have stirred controversies in the public space.

The sponsor of the National Emergency Bill, 2020, Chukwuka Utazi, it would seem, had paid little or no attention to details of the House bill to appreciate the similarities before joining the bandwagon.

The bill upon it final passage will “address the health issues connected with COVID-19 and beyond, so that such issues, whenever they occur in the future, we have a law to address them,” the lawmaker said.

He added: “what we have in the Quarantine Act doesn’t cover all protocol that we supposed to follow.

“If they were, the Presidency and the PTF will not be coming up with one guideline or the other. We want to harmonize the approach on how to face the issue.”

The seeming waste of energy in the National Assembly is one that continues to agitate the minds of many critics. The overlap of activities is, perhaps, the reason Nigerians are deepening the call for a collapse of the bicameral legislature into one.

But who cares to listen?

ANSWER: Senator Dino Melaye

On July 12, 2016, former Kogi Senator, Dino Melaye, allegedly made the infamous statement against Senator Remi Tinubu, wife of acclaimed National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu, during a closed-door meeting of senators at the National Assembly.

Author: Oluwakemi Adelagun

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