Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The House of Representatives has said the consideration of the contentious Control of Infectious Diseases Bill has not been stopped by a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.
The chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Benjamin Kalu, said in a statement on Sunday, that a section of the media had erroneously reported that the Federal High Court in its ruling on suit no FHC/ABJ/CS/463/2020 last week had stopped the further consideration of the bill.
The Control of Infectious Diseases Bill, which is sponsored by Speaker of the House Femi Gbajabiamila and two others, is currently a subject of litigation before an Abuja Federal High Court.
Kalu noted that the reports on the court decision are a misrepresentation of facts which has misled members of the public.
The House spokesman explained that though the applicant, through a motion ex parts, had sought an order of the court suspending the consideration of the bill, the court declined to grant the reliefs sought by the applicant so as to allow the respondent to appear before it and enter a defence.
According to him, ‘while the House encourages the public and all media outfits to verify and refer to the certified true copy of the court’s order in all further social commentary or report on the subject matter, it has become necessary to set the record straight.
‘The truth of the matter is that although the applicant, by way of a motion ex parte, sought a court order suspending the consideration of the Bill by the House, the court in its wisdom and in the interest of justice and fair hearing, declined to grant the reliefs sought by Applicant in order to enable the Respondents in the case to appear before it and enter a defence.’
Kalu added that ‘it is unfortunate that the purport of the interim order was wrongly reported. The House, therefore, wishes to put the order of the court in proper perspective and state that the act of legislation is a sacred and constitutional responsibility which should not be subjected to flimsy or superficial reportage in the interest of our democracy.
‘While the respondents await official service of processes in the abovementioned suit as directed by the court, the House reiterates that as a creation of the Nigerian Constitution, it will continue to perform its lawful mandate without jeopardizing its healthy deference to the judicial system and the process of adjudication.’