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Bill to repeal Quarantine Act will make Nigerians ‘zombies, guinea pigs’ for vaccines, says HURIWA

Historically, vaccines are one of the most important and effective public health achievements. PHOTO: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images

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The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has described the repeal of the Quarantine Act of 1926 as a toxic, poisonous, and unconstitutional piece of legislation that will turn the common people of Nigeria into mechanical zombies and guinea pigs of vaccine manufacturers funded by the American billionaire Bill Gates.

It, therefore, urged the National Assembly to as a matter of urgency throw away the bill because it is poisonous and of no benefits to Nigerians.

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According to the group, the Bill essentially seeks to repeal the Quarantine Act, 1926, adding that the Act came into force on April 27, 1926, and empowers the President or Governor of a State to make regulation as to quarantine in respect of and for prevention of dangerous infectious diseases.

In a statement signed by the National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko on Thursday maintained that it is worthy of note that Nigeria already has a Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Establishment) Act, 2018 (simply referred to as the NCDC Act).

The Rights group noted the NCDC was created in 2011 and operated without enabling legislation until barely a year and a half ago precisely on November 13, 2018, when the present President of Nigeria assented to the Bill for the NCDC Act which places on the NCDC wide range responsibilities as stated in section 1 of the Act.

It noted that the responsibilities include protecting Nigerians from communicable diseases of public health importance, maintaining a high state of alertness to detect and respond to disease outbreak, developing and coordinating capabilities, measures and activities to control outbreaks and mitigate the health impact of public health disasters.

HURIWA stressed that some provisions in the bill which include assembly/association and movement in certain circumstances, compulsory vaccination, and conferring of overbearing power on the Director General (DG) of the NCDC as well over criminalization, among others contradicts section 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) which guarantees the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association to contend with.

“In my view, the provision in section 40 of the Constitution is clear, direct, and unambiguous. It is formulated and designed to confer on every person the right to assemble freely and associate with other persons.

“I am therefore persuaded by the argument of Femi Falana that by the combined effect of sections 39 and 40 of the 1999 Constitution as well as Article 11 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the right to assemble freely cannot be violated without violating the fundamental right to peaceful assembly and association.

“I agree with Mr Falana that violation can only be done by the procedure permitted by law, under section 45 of the Constitution, in which case there must be a state of emergency properly declared before these rights can be violated, ” HURIWA stated.

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