COVID-19: Why we copied Singapore’s Act for Nigeria’s Bill — Gbajabiamila - Uju Ayalogu's Blog for News, Reviews, Articles and More

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Monday, 11 May 2020

COVID-19: Why we copied Singapore’s Act for Nigeria’s Bill — Gbajabiamila

COVID-19: Why we copied Singapore’s Act for Nigeria’s Bill — Gbajabiamila

The Speaker of House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, has justified the plagiarism of the Singaporean law to draft the Infectious Disease Bill submitted for consideration in the Green Chamber.

Gbajabiamila made this known in a Zoom meeting organised by Elombah Communications/Njenje Media Limited.

He was represented by his Special Assistant, Research and Public Policy, Dubem Okadigbo Moghalu.

Gbajabiamila explained that plagiarism is not known in legislative drafting, adding that the allegation of plagiarism was intended only to raise certain passion.

The Conference was titled: “Covid-19 and the proposed Vaccination Bill: Implications for Nigeria.”

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Gbajabiamila explained that when you want to achieve a particular objective through passage of an Act of Parliament, it is a common norm and practice to look for another jurisdiction that has achieved what you intend to achieve.

He said: “I need it to be clear for those who are on this platform that at the moment the Language of plagiarism that has been used in relation to this bill is simply incendiary and it is intended only to arise certain passion.

“Plagiarism is not known in legislative drafting.

“When you want to achieve a particular objective, the first thing you will need to do is to ask yourself is there any other jurisdiction that has achieved what you intend to achieve.

“If yes, the next thing is: how did they achieve it in the written text?

“And you will take that written text and take it as a foundation for developing your own legislation and you will make whatever improvement you need to make so that it will be more suitable to your local context.

“We are taking what was done in Singapore as foundation for our work and improve and amend it to an extent that will be suited to our local context.

“It is important to know that there is nothing we have done in thus bill that is not based on existing law in Nigeria.”

Gbajabiamila explained that the content of the bill was not alien to the practices in Nigeria.

In his word: “We have simply sought to build on what is already in existence to achieve a particular objective of strengthening our health work and the management of our public health.

“A lot of contentious provisions that people are worried about only apply to our public health emergency.

“The only person who has power to declare public health emergency is the President.

“We have not given the Director General (Nigeria Centre for Disease Control) power to act on his own outside of norms.

“We are simply giving him power that comes into effect subject to declaration of public health emergency by the President.”

The speaker of the House said the power to arrest without warrant of arrest is already in the existing law in the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, adding that there is no difference between the existing law and what is being proposed in the bill.

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