Infectious diseases bill: Dino Melaye’s suit against Gbajabiamila suffers setback

Hearing in a suit seeking to stop the infectious diseases control bill was on Wednesday stalled due to failure to serve Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house of representatives, with necessary court processes.

Dino Melaye, former senator representing Kogi west, had filed the suit against Gbajabiamila, and four others seeking for the protection of his fundamental rights over the bill.

According to Melaye, the bill threatens “the dignity of person, personal liberty, right to private and family life, right to freedom of movement and right to own immovable property in Nigeria”.

Other respondents in the suit are the clerk of the national assembly, the clerk of the house of representatives, Abubakar Malami, attorney general of the federation, and Mohammed Adamu, inspector general of police.

On May 13, 2020, Ijeoma Ojukwu, the judge, had refused an ex parte application by the plaintiff (Melaye) asking for an order directing parties to maintain status quo in the matter.


Instead, the judge summoned all respondents in the suit to make appearances on Wednesday so as to give reasons why the bill should not be stopped as requested by the plaintiff.

When the case was called on Wednesday, Nkem Okoro, counsel to Melaye, urged the court to order parties to maintain status quo on grounds that the respondents had failed to file their responses.

Kayode Ajulo, counsel to Gbajabiamila, told the court that his client is yet to be served with court processes.

Clerks of the national assembly and the house of representatives as well as the AGF were absent and their lawyers did not represent them.

Delivering his ruling, the judge refused to grant the plaintiff’s prayers on grounds that service of court documents had not been effected on all the respondents.

She ordered that the speaker be served through his lawyer, Ajulo.

The matter has been adjourned to June 1 for hearing.

The provisions of the new bill seeks to repeal the quarantine act of 1926 and provide new regulations that would enable Nigeria to manage situations like the coronavirus pandemic.

The proposed legislation, which has passed second reading, was sponsored by Gbajabiamila and two other lawmakers: Pascal Obi and Tanko Sununu.

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