Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has dismissed a suit filed by a former Kogi West Senator, Dino Melaye, to challenge some provisions of the controversial Control of Infectious Diseases Bill 2020, also known as the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control Bill.
The Presiding judge, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu upheld the notices of preliminary objection filed against the suit for lack of jurisdiction to hear it.
Justice Ojukwu, who did not bother to consider the case on merit, held that the issue raised in it was not justiciable, as the bill could not be a subject of litigation until it is signed into law.
Melaye had on May 5, 2020, filed the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/463/2020, urging the court to delete sections 5, 8, 15, 16 and 17 of the bill, which he said constituted a violation or would likely violate his rights under the Nigerian Constitution, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights as well the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.
The provisions of the bill being contested by Melaye included the ones seeking to empower the Director-General of the NCDC to compel anyone to take medical examination or treatment and also collect the blood sample of such person in the case of a public health emergency.
Some of the provisions also seek to empower the NCDC to take over any premises and turn them into isolation centres without compensation for the owner.
The bill also seeks to arrest and detain a suspected infected person with his or her consent.
The plaintiff alleged that the controversial bill would specifically violate his fundamental rights to dignity of his person, personal liberty, private and family life, right to freedom of movement and right to own immovable property in Nigeria.
The respondents to the suit are the Clerk of the National Assembly, the Clerk of the House of Representatives, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, and the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu.
Justice Ojukwu, however, struck out the IGP’s name for failure of the plaintiff to disclose any course of action against him.