The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has rejected moves by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, to pass his Infectious Disease Control Bill without recourse to the laid-down procedure of public hearing to allow Nigerians participate in the process of making the law.
The party in a statement by the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, described such moves to shut out Nigerians from public debate on such a crucial legislation as “ominous”, saying it raised suspicion of sinister objectives as “the nation combats the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.”
“This is especially as the bill seeks to prescribe clauses on critical issues, particularly that of vaccination, which has become globally controversial in the face of raging conspiracy theories on the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ologbondiyan said.
He further stated that the PDP was alarmed that such approach was already worsening public mistrust in the polity as well as heightening apprehension over the intentions of the presiding officers of the House of Representatives and the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration at this critical time.
The party insisted that Nigerians must be carried along in the decision making process of such a critical legislation, which sought to make provisions that would directly affect their health, as well as overall individual and collective safety and wellbeing.
The party also stressed that anything short of that would be counterproductive and capable of breeding an avoidable public resistance, especially given the deepening fear and anxiety in the polity over the COVID-19 pandemic.
The PDP therefore counseled the Speaker of the House of Representative to immediately call himself to order and allow for public hearing on the bill.
“Our party also urges our lawmakers in both the House of Representatives and Senate to stand firm against the passage of bill until there is a public hearing to get the inputs of Nigerians into the proposed law,” Ologbondiyan added.