INFECTIOUS DISEASES BILL 2020: Igbo group kicks against its passage

*Insists its ploy to annihilate Nigerians

*Say greed by people in authority fuel the bill

By Malachy Uzendu

The Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF) has kicked against the passage of the Infectious Diseases Control Bill 2020.

In a letter addressed to members of the National Assembly, the pan-Igbo body through Dr. Onyemuche Ibeneche, Chairman, ADF Health Committee; Dr. Arinze Nwosu, Secretary and Hon. Abia Onyike, Chairman, ADF Publicity Bureau, stated that the bill is a “dangerous toying with the life and destiny of the present and future generations of the present generation of Nigerians”.

The letter dated May 12th, was addressed to Sen. Ahmed Lawan, Senate President; Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker, House of Representatives and the entire members of the National Assembly.

The letter was unequivocal in asking the NASS members “to see reasons to back-pedal on this war of annihilation which you have mysteriously elected to wage on the very electorate that voted you into office”.

Titled: “Dangerous Toying with the life and destiny of the present and future generations of the present generation of Nigerians, a call to halt the infamy called Infectious Diseases Control Bill 2020”, ADF stated that they were writing “with heavy heart and shock”.

The noted that discussing the obnoxious bill was not only a disservice to “the masses of this nation and, the generation unborn, it beats every imagination of the heart, that men and women, addressed as distinguished Senators and Hon Members of House of Representatives, could descend so low in wisdom as to pour acid into the health and economic sores inflicted on us by Covid-19 virus, earlier called Wuhan-400 by the international scientists and Health experts, even at the peak of our travail”.

They added that were it “not for the unprecedented politicization and economic predatory tendencies exhibited by the authorities both in Nigeria and international community, Corona virus is much less serious epidemic compared with Ebola and Lassa fever, which this nation had combated successfully in the past, without confusion, convolution, intrigues and noise-making, gnashing of teeth and anguish that are the order of the day now”.

ADF insisted that “the proposed bill is absolutely ill-timed, unnecessary, and an act of betrayal of the people of this nation”.

They stated: “We make bold to declare that due and adequate notice was given to us before Corona virus was imported into the country.

“All indications point to the basic truth that this virus is man-made and was deliberately unleashed on mankind by powerful forced that want full control and dominion of the earth, politically, economically and religiously”.

They accused the National Assembly of failing in “their duty to make urgent law, motions and ensure that the executive arm enforces them, to prevent the importation of this virus, by way of early closure of our international borders and quarantining few Nigerians returning from other lands.

“By this failure the national Assembly has advertently or inadvertently become an accomplice in this deadly war against Nigerians and humanity”.

The pan-Igbo group asked rhetorically: “What is a vaccine one may ask? A vaccine is a biological preparation of an infective organism, in its dead, attenuated or weakened form or a very low dose of an active organism, administered to humans or animals, for the purpose of stimulating the immune system of the body to fight the organism causing infection (active immunization, tetanus toxoid).

“It can also be a preparation produced by using serum of an infected person to mass produce antibodies against an infective organism (passive immunization, example Anti-Tetanus serum, ATS).

“In the recent time, scientists have developed genetic engineering methods of developing drugs modifying plants and animal.

“This involves creating a segment of genetic material or code (mRNA) similar to a virus which when injected into the body of an animal will get incorporated into the genes of the cells.

“They can now start controlling the body to do things it was not naturally designed to do and may alter a lot of characters and functions of the body.

“This has been adopted in Corona vaccine production. It has generated a lot of controversies, including legal, ethical and heritage issues, including the much talked about genetic certificates by Bill Gate, which approval is yet to be given. Some of this vaccines being touted for Covid -19 are genetically engineered”.

They added that it takes about two years for development and full clinical trials of a vaccine to be completed to determine its safety and efficacy, stressing that severe complications, particularly negative effects on the kidneys, heart and brain takes months or years to become clinically evident.

The insisted that “relying on the evidence of the superpowers who manufactured Covid-19 virus and spread it to us” is most dangerous and unpatriotic.

They said that the passage of the bill through up to the second reading, was a ploy “to compulsorily inject into Nigerians phase1, phase 2, and Phase 3 clinical trials, when the mass production for the 180 million Nigerians is still unknown.

They told the National Assembly members that “universal law, the medical oath forbid any doctor or health personnel from administering any drug that has not passed due scientific diligence, including such vaccines undergoing phase three clinical trials approved by relevant ethical committee in Nigeria, as well as NAFDAC approval.

“We note that the National immunization programs, which involves immunization against tuberculosis, measles, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, hepatitis, yellow fever, cerebrospinal meningitis, etc, have been executed successfully over the years by past governments without any specific laws, but through reasonable persuasion and health education and free and adequate availability of the services to the door steps to Nigerians.

“Indeed, many parents and adults pay to get their children Immunized without being compelled by any law, showing excellent compliance by Nigerians”.

ADF reminded the NASS members that “here has been many epidemic diseases ravaging mankind without success in their vaccine production, eg. HIV/AIDS, seasonal Flu, Cov-SARS 2, Ebola, Lassa fever, despite concerted effort by scientists worldwide.

“One wonders what is giving our legislators this bizarre confidence that a vaccine is ready, that requires legislation for its enforcement”.

They appreciated the efforts of NCDC in tackling the pandemic, in spite of the unfavorable political environment and other challenges, and lampooned what they termed “the abysmal failure of the Presidential Taskforce and NCDC to meet the demands of this situation.

“There are countless tales of woes for failure or inadequate response by the government and NCDC officials to distress calls from Nigerians when they have suspicion of falling ill with corona virus.

“The tales of multitude that died without receiving medical attention and poor or no care at the isolation centres has reached high heavens.

“Is it those who want to be tested but has nowhere to go or are turned down at the designated test centres?

“The unusual secrecy with which the Covid-19 fight is prosecuted makes it a mystery and creates obvious doubts as to what Government’s intentions are.

“All these push the people to become aggressive to the Covid-19 and Government Officials, creating a false impression of uncooperative attitude by few Nigerians.

“Thus there is no justification for contemplating a law for the Covid-19 and any future epidemic. It is Government rising to her responsibility that is the challenge”.

They maintained that Nigeria’s problems was never “lack of laws but lack of political will and sincerity of purpose to implement existing laws”.

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