Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has dismissed a suit filed by Senator Dino Melaye challenging some provisions of the controversial Control of Infectious Diseases Bill 2020.
Listed as defendants in the fundamental rights enforcement suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/463/2020 were 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 (AGF) and the Inspector-General of Police (IGP).
The judge struck out the name of the IGP as a party to the case on the grounds that the plaintiff failed to disclose any cause of action against him.
In her ruling on Tuesday, the judge held that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear and determine the issues raised in the suit, stating that the issues raised in the suit were not justiciable, as a Bill could not be a subject of litigation until it becomes law.
Justice Ojukwu upheld the preliminary objection filed against the suit by the respondents.
The judge ruled that a bill could not become a subject of litigation until it has become law.
Justice Ojukwu noted that the bill must have passed through the normal processes before the National Assembly and gained Presidential assent before it could be litigated upon.
The judge held that since the bill does not have binding force of law that could be held against anyone, Melaye’s prayers were not justiciable.
However, she ruled that Melaye, who represented Kogi West in the 8th Senate, had enough grounds to fear his fundamental rights could be infringed upon.
Melaye had urged 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 plaintiff had faulted provisions of the bill, also known as the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Bill, 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.
He queried the provision to empower the NCDC to take over any premises and turn them into isolation centres without compensation for the owner.