House of Reps plays ‘Maradona’ on public health hearing, bars journalists but says it’s an oversight

The House of Representatives seems to be playing smart with the public who they claim they are representing as the House Wednesday sent off the Press from their hearing.

In another tongue, the House said its attempt to pass the infectious diseases control bill without subjecting it to public hearing was an oversight.

Femi Gbajabiamila, the speaker, said the lawmakers wanted a speedy passage of the bill to address health concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bill was introduced and passed for second reading in April without some of the lawmakers knowing about the controversial provisions including compulsory vaccination for every newborn against some infectious diseases.

Following a campaign against the bill, Gbajabiamila agreed that it will be subjected to a public hearing for all concerns and agitations to be addressed.

At the joint public hearing on Wednesday, the Speaker, who was represented by the Majority Leader of the house,

Alhassan Ado Doguwa, said the lawmakers do not have any covert motive regarding the bill.

“No matter the fake news and the rumors, the leadership and the house of representatives cannot be distracted by these things. We must be allowed to do our work,” he said.

“The fact remains that we are doing this in good faith, we don’t have any self-serving interest. And that is why the speaker in his normal way decided we should go for public hearing.

“Even if it was deliberated that we wanted not to go for public hearing; he now said, ‘okay, humbly, let us go for public hearing’.

“It might have been an oversight or perhaps our zeal to really quicken this legislative process because of the pandemic that we are in.”

The speaker said the green chamber will ensure that the final piece of the proposed legislation reflects the overall interest of Nigerians.

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