Senate introduces bill on emergency health

The Senate Tuesday passed for first reading, National Health Emergency Bill 2020, sponsored by Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP Enugu North).

This is as the former Deputy Senate President,  Ike Ekweremadu (PDP Enugu West ) kicked against the bill by demanding for the draft copy before further consideration by the Senate.

Ekweremadu in kicking against the bill through Order 14(1) of  the Senate Standing Rules, said his privileges and that of the other senators would be breached if details of the contents were not made available to them before further legislative consideration.

“In line with Order 14(1), which has to deal with privileges, as one of the serving senators, I move that draft copies of the bill should be made available before any other legislative action is taking on it.

“This is very important because , it won’t augur well for the Senate to follow the same route with the House of Representatives where a controversial Bill on Control of Infectious Diseases was passed for first and second reading last week.

“Copies of the one that had just been passed for first reading in the Senate today  must be made available to us for required responses and contributions at the appropriate time.”

Consequently,  the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, directed the sergeants at arms in the chamber to distribute copies of the bill to all senators ahead of its consideration for second reading next week Tuesday.

However, in an interview with journalists after the session, the sponsor of the bill, Senator Chukwuka Utazi said its contents and intendment were not the same with the one before the House of Representatives.

“Although I have not read the contents of the one before the House, but provisions such as compulsory vaccinations for all citizens and other compulsion for that matter, are not there.

” The main purpose of the bill is to strengthen our  Quarantine Act by way of required amendments  and to take care of all the issues that have to with the management of pandemic  like the ranging COVID-19.

“In doing that, we want to ensure that instead of having fire brigade approach of solving the problem of this nature, we have a law that can handle all that. We want to put everything under a law to address health issues,” he said.

He said: “I don’t see any controversy about the bill that 102 members of the Senate sponsored. The bill is to address the issue that’s posing public health emergency around the world.

“There are so many things that are not covered under the Quarantine Act. These are the things  that are troubling the country today which must be addressed through required legislation in form of the bill.

Leave a Reply