• Further Legislative Work Put On Hold
• Contentious Clauses May Be Reviewed
Fresh facts have emerged to the effects that the controversial National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Bill may have been put on hold in the Senate indefinitely.
The Senate version of the Bill which was sponsored by Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP Enugu State) who is also the chairman of the Senate Committee on Primary Health and Communicable Disease.
The Bill passed its First Reading penultimate Tuesday when the Senate resolved to debate its general principles the following Tuesday and pass the Second Reading. This was never done.
Instead, the upper legislative chamber muted the consideration of the Bill and proceeded on a two-week holiday to celebrate I’d-El-Fitri.
Lawmakers who volunteered information to The Guardian on the issue disclosed that advisories had been received from many prominent quarters to allow some critical issues arising from the introduction of the Bill be resolved before further work would be done on the legislative piece.
A ranking member of the Senate explained the situation in these words:
“As you know, the NCDC Bill first emerged from the House of Representatives. And rightly or wrongly, there was a kind of public outcry of some sorts.”
“Usually, there are many ways in which the National Assembly makes laws. One way is to allow the Bill exhaust it’s processes in the House in which it was first introduced and then passed to the other House for concurrent.
On the other hand, both chambers can decide to work separately on the bill and come up with separate versions which would be harmonized later. The last option was what happened in this case.”
“What I do know is that as important and urgent as the problem which the Bill was intended to cure is, there are issues of public perception and we in the National Assembly having been elected by the People owe it a point of duty to be very careful. So, I think we should be commended for slowing down a little to gauge the mood of the public to our actions “
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, had halted initial opposition to the Bill and promised to allow a thorough debate before the Second Reading is passed.