The speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has disclosed that there will be no public hearing on the infectious disease bills due to the COVID-19 social distancing guidelines.
He stated that alternative provisions will be made available, and that those who have contributions to the infectious disease bill should send it to the House, as usual public hearing format is not tenable right now.
It would be recalled that the infectious disease bill which was sponsored by Gbajabimaila scaled second reading last week Tuesday, however, the bill is currently getting negative reactions, particularly on the aspect of mandatory vaccination and allegation of plagiarism.
This was contained in his address on Tuesday. He stated that the House will consider all contributions before putting the bill up for committee of the whole’s consideration.
The social distancing guidelines under which this House and the whole country operates for the time being means that the usual format of public hearings is not tenable. If a socially distant public hearing becomes workable, we will certainly explore that option. Nonetheless, the House will provide alternative platforms for all Nigerians who desire to send in written documents that articulate their concerns, make recommendations on amendments and perhaps present other formulations for a new framework for managing infectious diseases in Nigeria. All the contributions we receive will be considered and aggregated to improve the proposed legislation.
“There are no limits set to the thoughts and imaginations that should animate the conversations about our nationhood. Yet, these conversations must be factual and informed rather than conspiratorial and divisive. All Nigerians must ensure that the views we share publicly are well-informed so that we can more effectively resist the winds of false doctrine that debase this collective enterprise of democratic governance. The commitment to informed public debate is a legacy we must all seek to leave behind.”