The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has advised the the Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila to subject the Infectious Disease Control Bill to public hearing. The party gave the advice in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary Kola Ologbondiyan on Saturday in Abuja. Ologbondiyan said that the bill should not be passed without recourse to the laid down procedure of public hearing to allow Nigerians participate in the process of making the law.
He said that shutting out Nigerians from public debate on such a crucial legislation would raise suspicions of sinister objectives as the nation combats the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is especially as the bill seeks to prescribe clauses on critical issues, particularly that of vaccination, which has become globally controversial in the face of raging conspiracy theories on the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The PDP is alarmed that such approach is already worsening public mistrust in the polity,” he said.
Ologbondiyan added that such move would heighten apprehension over the intentions of the presiding officers of the House of Representatives and the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration at this critical time.
“The PDP insists that Nigerians must be carried along in the decision making process of such a critical legislation, which seeks to make provisions that will directly affect their health as well as overall individual and collective safety and well-being.
“The party stresses that anything short of that would be counter productive and capable of breeding an avoidable public resistance, especially given the deepening fear and anxiety in the polity over the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
Ologbondiyan urged lawmakers in the National Assembly to stand firm against the passage of bill until there was a public hearing to get the inputs of Nigerians into the proposed law.