BY MOSES IDIKA, ABUJA
Journalists were on Wednesday prevented from covering the scheduled public hearing on the controversial Infectious Disease Bill sponsored by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, HON. FEMI GBAJABIAMILA.
The public hearing being conducted by the House Committees on Health Services, Health Institutions and Justice has been much anticipated as the bill has generated series of controversies over its many provisions which many Nigerians feel were overreaching and in some parts in direct clash with the Nigerian constitution.
A Sergent-at-Arm stationed at the entrance of Hearing Room 028, venue of the public hearing, said he has instructions not to allow journalists into the committee room.
According to him, it was only the chairman of the House Committee on Health Services, TANKO SUNUNU that would clear journalists to cover the event.
Reports also has it that the Clerk of the Committee, JOYCE UMERU was also fond of holding the Committee events in secrecy and has vowed not to have any business to do with journalists
The Control of Infectious Diseases Bill, which is jointly sponsored by the Speaker, FEMI GBAJABIAMILA, the chairman, House Committee on Health Institutions, PASCHAL OBI and TANKO SUNUNU has been trailed by controversy, amidst allegations that the bill was plagiarized from a similar bill in Singapore.
The bill had generated furore on the floor of the House, last month, after GBAJABIAMILA attempted to push it through first, second reading and committee consideration within a few hours.
Some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) also said they were denied entrance into the hall on the ground that they did not submit a memoranda on the controversial bill.