FLASH: Anambra Assembly passes Covid-19, infectious disease prevention, eradication Bill

By Paul Emenike

April 17, 2020

The Anambra State House of Assembly has passed a bill to enforce measures initiated to prevent the spread and eradicate Coronavirus (COVID-19) and other dangerous infectious diseases in the state.

The Assembly passed the bill during an emergency plenary on Friday, with strict observation of social distancing in their sitting arrangement.

On March 25, the Assembly adjourned plenary indefinitely to avoid the spread of Coronavirus in the state.

The lawmakers took turns to perfect some corrections in the clauses of the bill before it was finally passed by the House.

The Speaker, Mr Uche Okafor, conducted a voice vote on each of the sections of the bill before the passage.

Okafor said, “Having considered the clauses of ‘The COVID-19 and Other Dangerous Infectious Diseases, Prevention and Eradication Bill 2020, the bill is hereby passed.’’

The Speaker after the passage of the bill, directed the Clerk of the House, Mr Pius Udo, to forward a clean copy of the bill to Gov. Willie Obiano for his assent.

Earlier, the Majority Leader of the House, Dr Nnamdi Okafor, said the bill sustained all the directives already provided by the state government to combat the spread of the disease.

Okafor said that directives such as closure of state boundaries, restriction of movements, temporary lockdown, restriction on public gathering, social distancing as well as personal hygiene and safety health measures among others, were contained in the bill.

According to the bill, the Chief Judge is empowered to designate Magistrates’ Courts or High Courts in the three Senatorial Districts of the state, as he may think appropriate, for the hearing and determination of all matters on violation of relevant provisions of the law.

“Any person who violates any of the provisions of the bill as it relates to the state government directives on Covid-19 prevention, commits an offence and shall be liable upon conviction, to a fine of N100, 000 or one month imprisonment,” the bill said.

The House also constituted a 10-man committee, tagged House of Assembly Covid-19 Observation Team, headed by the Deputy Speaker, Dr Pascal Agbodike.

Also at plenary, the House screened and confirmed 21 persons nominated by Gov. Willie Obiano for appointment as chairmen of the Local Government Transition Committee.

The tenure of the transitional committee, as approved by the Assembly, is three months after which it could be renewed or fresh appointments made.

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