Nigerian rapper and activist, M.I Abaga has taken to Twitter to campaign against the Infectious Disease Bill which the Nigerian Legislation wants to put in place.
The Infectious Disease bill, which was sponsored by the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, is to provide an updated basis for the Government’s anti-pandemic efforts, replacing the National Quarantine Act of 2004.
According to reports, The Infectious Diseases Act is supposed to create a legal framework for the Federal Government to manage special circumstances surrounding infectious disease outbreaks, like the current Covid-19 pandemic, and prevent the spread.
However, critics of the bill as it is presently constituted, have expressed fears that it could be open to abuse by government officials. The bill gives a lot of sweeping and disproportionate powers to the Minister of Health and the Director-General of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
If signed into law, the Minister of Health will have the right to convert any building into an isolation area, while the police will be able to arrest anybody suffering from an infectious disease, without a warrant.
It also gives the NCDC Director-General the power to close down premises deemed to be overcrowded, in a country where millions live in cramped spaces, while officials authorized by him will be able to detain individuals without any warrant.
M.I Abaga asked Nigerians to join him in campaigning against the bill but also advised they do their research so as to understand more.