March 2, 2021

Compulsory Vaccine Bill: N500,000 fine awaits violators as Nigerians reject bill

The controversial bill sponsored by speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila on Infectious Disease Control that will mandate compulsory vaccination of citizens has spelled out a fine of five hundred thousands naira (500,000) for any Nigerian who may refuses to be vaccinated.

The bill also seeks amongst other things, to empower the Minister of Health to convert any building into an Isolation center during a pandemic or health crisis while the police would be able to arrest any individual suffering from an infectious disease without a warrant. 

Section 79 (3) of the bill prescribes a N500,000 fine and six-month jail term for persons who violate the quarantine restriction or refuse to take vaccinations in case of an outbreak or a suspected outbreak of an infectious disease in Nigeria such as the ravaging COVID-19.

“The Minister may, in making any regulations, provide that any contravention of or failure to comply with any regulation shall be an offence punishable with a fine not less than N500,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to both”. 

The controversial bill titled “Control of Infectious Diseases Bill 2020” according to the Speaker, was designed to prevent the spread or possible outbreak of infectious diseases like the ravaging corona virus in the country.

Many Nigerians kick against the bill and the manner in which it is being pushed at the chamber as anti people and as such, demand a stop on the passage of the bill.

The bill was said to have passed through first and second reading in the floor of the house without some of the legislators having the copy of the bill for perusal before debating on it, a process which have since  raised suspicions from many citizens.

Amongst Nigerians that kicked against the bill is former senator Dino Melaye who has sued the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the entire chamber for an attempt to pass the bill.

He said the bill is against the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and an outright abuse of the human rights of Nigerians.

He pointed out that the bill amongst other things encourages forceful vaccination of persons against their wish.

Also, the leadership of Christian Association of Nigeria CAN, has criticized the controversial infectious diseases bill, which the Association says violates the fundamental human rights of the citizens.

In a letter by its National Secretary, Joseph Daramola, CAN said the motive behind the attempt to speedily pass the bill without due process was suspicious and dangerous.

According to CAN, the bill was initiated to destroy the civil and human rights of Nigerians and it prevents Nigerians from having a say in their own affairs through the hasty way by which the House is trying to make it a law.

Speaking on the legality or illegality of the compulsory vaccination, a lawmaker at the Plateau state house of assembly, Barrister Wallok Goma opined that law is a product of the people, so vaccine law should not be compulsory on the citizens.

“If I’m vaccinated against infectious disease and u are not vaccinated, you can not infect, so why enforcing vaccine on people?” He asked.

He said the law of the land stipulated a right for every citizen, hence no law should temper with such right in whatever form.

As the case maybe, some of the citizens are of the opinion that even if the house insists on the bill, it should undergo due process and let the Nigeria citizens which the few members of the National Assembly are representing decide about the vaccine rather than forcing it on them.