Court dismisses Melaye’s suit against NCDC bill

The Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday dismissed a suit filed by a former Kogi West senator, Dino Melaye, challenging some provisions of the controversial Control of Infectious Diseases Bill 2020, widely referred to as the National Centre for Disease Control Bill.

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu upheld the notices of preliminary objection filed against the suit for lack of jurisdiction to hear it.

The judge 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, rprivate and family life, right to freedom of movement and right to own immoveable 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.

The judge however struck out the IGP’s name for the failure of the plaintiff to disclose any course of action against him.