COVID-19: Lagos Assembly passes bill to contain spread

Lanre Lagada-Abayomi, Lagos


Lagos State House of Assembly has passed a bill, titled “A Bill for a Law to Combat and Stop the Spread of the Coronavirus Pandemic in Lagos State and for Connected Purpose” into Law on Thursday.

The Bill which passed through its First, Second and Third Reading during Plenary same day, was raised as Business of the Day by the Deputy Leader, Hon. Noheem Adams as House Bill No. 8. The Bill has 25 Sections.

The essence of the Bill is to empower the Governor in combating and stop the spread of the virus.

According to the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, the sum of N20bn is to enable the Governor to take off the combat of the Virus.

Hon. Richard Kasunmu who contributed expressed hope that the fund would enable the Governor to expend the necessary fund to fight against the spread of the deadly pandemic, adding that “our hospitals would gain more support in terms of equipments to fight the menace.

Hon. Gbolahan Yishawu who also lent his voice to the issue explained that Lagos State has to respond very fast to this deadly virus especially since the first point of contact was Lagos.

He however noted that the Bill should be expanded to accommodate other epidemics; and provision of energy to improvised centres.

Hon. Desmond Elliot opined that the Bill should include provision of protective kits for people providing essential services.

Other Lawmakers who contributed were of the view that churches and mosques should be sanitised; victims who survive the pandemic should not be stigmatized by their offices or landlords; government workers should be tested for the virus; forfeiture of properties as punishment for not revealing a Coronavirus in one’s property was too harsh; insurance to be provided for the first respondents (doctors and nurses); stipend to be given to unemployed residents amongst others.

The Speaker who concluded the deliberation explained that the contingency provision in the Budget “Is not up to this volume. The Governor has to start something which he has already started so as not to act outside the provision of the Law”.

He added that the quick passage of the Bill is apt. “An emergency situation demands an emergency decision”.

According to the Speaker, this fund would enable the Governor establish other treatment centres that would enable victims receive treatment within their division of residence. He added that volunteers and retired medical practitioners can be recalled to assist.

The House thereby passed the third reading of the Bill and asked the Clerk of the House, Mr Azeez Sanni to send a clean copy to the Governor for his assent.