A Bill for an Act to repeal the Quarantine Act, and enact the Control of Infectious Diseases bill, has passed a second reading in the House of Representatives.
The bill which was sponsored by the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila seeks to empower the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and make it more proactive.
Leading the debate, Gbajabiamila said that the (NCDC) had very little powers to carry out its mandate even though it is a body with great professionals.
Gbajabiamila said that the Control of Infectious Diseases bill, sought to empower the NCDC to make it more proactive and not just reactive and function when there is an outbreak.
He said when the bill is signed and becomes law, the NCDC will be empowered and may administer necessary vaccines to curb the spread of pandemics.
The lawmaker said that the bill also seeks to make provisions relating to quarantine and make regulations for preventing the introduction and spreading of infectious diseases in Nigeria.
Gbajabiamila said that Quarantine Act which had existed for many years, was now ‘primitive and weak’ to meet the current demands.
He said that it took the COVID-19 pandemic to realiase the weakness of the Quarantine Act, saying that the Control of Infectious Diseases bill would replace the old provisions with modern ones.
The lawmaker said that the Quarantine Act provided a penalty of N500 for defaulters, but the Control of Infectious Diseases bill was proposing a penalty of between N200, 000 and N5 million.