THE CONTROL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES BILL 2020
This Bill was introduced on the 28th of April 2020 before the House of Representatives and passed the first and second reading. The Bill is cited as a bill for an act to repeal the quarantine act and enact the control of infectious diseases act, make provisions relating to quarantine and make regulations for preventing the introduction into and spread in Nigeria of dangerous infectious diseases, and for other related matters. There is no doubt that such a Bill is necessary for the protection of all Nigerians at this time when the world is battling with the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. However, what is puzzling about its introduction is that it was presented for consideration in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis and lockdown, without members of the House haven received copies and given the opportunity to read, reflect, consult and have a good understanding of the contents and implications; and at a time when it will be practically impossible for the Bill to be presented to the public and stakeholders for engagement and contributions.
The Bill amongst others provides for Declaration of Public Health Emergency and Public Health Emergency Zones, Notification of prescribed infectious diseases, Public health surveillance programmes, Medical examination and treatment, Post-mortem examination, Director General may require information from healthcare professionals, Surveillance and contact tracing measures at premises, Prohibition or restriction of meetings, gatherings and public entertainments, Power to order certain persons to undergo vaccination or other prophylaxis, Powers of investigation, Protection from personal liability, etc.
This proposed Bill gave extensive overreaching powers to the Director General of the National Centre for Disease Control and the Minister of Health.
It is observed that the Bill legalizes the breach of Nigerians’ rights to dignity (their personal integrity and autonomy) and privacy. And this is reflected throughout the Bill. In fact, there are so many issues to be considered in the Bill. However, it is important to highlight a few examples as follows:
- Section 5 (2) provides that the DG of NCDC for the purpose of any public health, surveillance programme, epidemiological investigation or survey require any person to furnish the Director General, within or at the times and in the form or manner the Director General specifies, with any of the following: (i) any information (known to the person at those times); (ii) any sample of any substance or matter in the possession or control of that person at those times, whether obtained under this Act or otherwise; and (b) to submit to a medical examination at the times the Director General specifies. (3) If a person who is required by the Director General under subsection (2) to furnish any information or sample, or to submit to any medical examination, fails, without reasonable excuse, to do so, he shall be guilty of an offence. (4) The Director General may send for such test, examination or analysis as he may consider necessary or expedient.
Please note it’s not stated, who determines reasonable excuse. But there’s no doubt that reasonable excuse is at the discretion of the DG.
- Section 6: Medical examination and treatment (1) The Director General may require any person who is, or is suspected to be, a case or carrier or contact of an infectious disease to submit to medical examination or medical treatment within or at such time, and at such place, as the Director General may determine. (2) For the purpose of subsection (1), the medical examination may include X-rays and the taking of the person’s blood and other body samples for testing and analysis.
- Section 8 (4): A healthcare professional shall comply with a requirement under subsection (1)(a) to transmit information to the Director General notwithstanding any restriction on the disclosure of information imposed by any written law, rule of law, rule of professional conduct or contract; and he shall not by so doing be treated as being in breach of any such restriction notwithstanding anything to the contrary in that law, rule or contract.
- Section 10 (3): Without prejudice to any proceedings under subsection (2), where a notice issued by the Director General under subsection (1) has not been complied with, a person authorised in that behalf by the Director General may, without warrant and with such force as may be necessary, enter the premises or vessel to which the notice relates and take or cause to be taken such measures as have been specified in the notice.
- Section 12: disposal of dead bodies without the court warrant- any Health Officer may take such steps as may be necessary to ensure that the order is complied with, including entering any premises at any time without warrant and with such force as may be necessary to collect, remove and dispose of the body of the deceased person.
Emphasis for points 4 and 5 is on ‘without warrant’ and subject to the discretion of an unelected DG. Clearly the role of the Court will be subsumed.
- Section 14: Surveillance (1) The Director General may, in his discretion, order any person who is, or is suspected to be, a case or carrier or contact of an infectious disease to undergo surveillance for such period of time and subject to such conditions as the Director thinks fit.
- Section 20 (5) A person given a direction under subsection (1) may, within 7 days after the direction is given, appeal against the direction to the Minister, whose decision is final.
This Bill empowers the DG to order compliance with the provisions of the Bill without this power being subjected to judicial intervention. The DG is granted this unchecked power that allows him to act subject only to his own discretion. There are no specific references to the rights of Nigerians to give their consent to any actions concerning their health and bodily integrity. I believe that consent is a major factor that must be considered when dealing with an individual’s body. In drafting a Bill of this nature, the Nigerian Legislators should have taken into cognisance the critical nature and implication of granting unfettered powers that allow the invasion of the human body, when there is a subsisting Constitution that prohibits such invasion, especially as Nigeria is a democracy not an autocratic society where human rights are not valued.
Consent is key to gaining access to any part of the human body and this fact is clearly rooted in the term ‘human rights’.
Human rights are natural rights which all human being possess that are universal, inviolable, non-transferrable, unrenounceable and interdependent. They are rights that have been recognised by the international community, the United Nations in its 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), and also in other international instruments, like the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR); and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR), to be inalienable. That is, they are certain universal rights that cannot be taken away by legislation, as they are beyond the control of a government, being naturally given to every individual at birth, and are retained throughout life. These are guaranteed at an international level and the international human rights law establishes the obligation for all countries to act in a determined manner in order to promote and protect them. These natural rights include the right to think for oneself, the right to life, and the right to self-defense, and they remain through every human’s lifetime. Some of these rights are non-derogable rights such as those contained in Article 4(2) of the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights which provides that no derogation is permitted for the right to life (article 6); freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment; and freedom from medical or scientific experimentation without consent (article 7); freedom from slavery and servitude (articles 8(1) and (2)); freedom from imprisonment for inability to fulfill a contractual obligation (article 11); prohibition against the retrospective operation of criminal laws (article 15); right to recognition before the law (article 16); freedom of thought, conscience and religion (article 18).
These rights have been enacted into various national Constitutions of the world and these are referred to as fundamental rights. They are rights recognized and guaranteed by individual governments and are enshrined in a Constitution.
To guarantee and promote the enjoyment of these rights, the Constitution vests in the Courts the power of enforcement and protection. This is provided for under Section 6 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended). The judicial power of the country is vested in the Courts of law established for the federation and the states. The Nigerian Courts have also taken cognisance of the role of human rights in the Nigerian society and have made extensive pronouncements on the term even prior to democracy. There are abundant judicial pronouncements in this regard. However, reference is made to the recent case of BOBADE OLUTIDE & ORS v. ADAMS HAMZAT & ORS (2016) LPELR-26047(CA), in which, SOTONYE DENTON-WEST, J.C.A. (P. 11, Paras. B-E), stated as follows:
“Human Rights are moral principles or norms that describe certain standards of human behavior, and are regularly protected as legal rights in municipal and international law. They are commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights. These rights are based on the belief that everyone is equal and should have the same rights and opportunities. Embedded in these rights are the abilities to understand another person’s feelings, experience and the rule of law. In other words, do unto others what you want done to yourself. Thereby it is safe to say that these rights impose an obligation on all persons as human beings to respect the human rights of others. However, these rights can be taken away though as a result of due process based on certain circumstances.”
In the case of Uzoukwu & Ors v. Ezeonu II &Ors (1991) 6 NWLR (Pt.200) 708 the Court drew a distinction between human rights and fundamental rights as follows:
“Due to the development of Constitutional law in this field a distinct difference has emerged between ‘Fundamental rights’ and ‘Human Rights’. It may be recalled that human rights were derived from and out of wider concept of natural rights. They are rights which every civilized society must accept as belonging to each person as a human being. These were termed human rights. When the United Nations made its declaration it was in respect of ‘Human Rights’ as it was envisaged that certain rights belong to all human beings irrespective of citizenship, race, religion and so on. This has now formed part of International Law. They are fundamental because they have been guaranteed by the fundamental law of the country; that is by the Constitution.”
This brings us to that salient term again, Consent.
Consent has been defined as the permission for something to happen or agreement to do something. According to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (7th Edition), “Consent merely means to agree or to permit someone to do something”.
Granting consent can also be described to imply relinquishing some authority in a sphere of concern in which one’s sovereignty ought otherwise to be respected.
In political philosophy, consent of the governed refers to the idea that a government’s legitimacy and moral right to use state power is only justified and lawful when consented to by the people or society over which that political power is exercised.
This clearly states that consent here must be obtained and there cannot be an imposition of authority on the people. In a democratic society, the government exists by the choice of the people and the government can only lead legitimately with the consent of the people. This differs from colonialism, monarchy, communism, autocratic or totalitarian forms of government.
The characteristics and conditions of consent are important. Consent-based theories of legitimacy and obligation generally agree that consenting parties must be rational agents, capable of understanding moral categories such as right and wrong. People will, of course, often disagree about the substance, scope, and demands of reason and morality, but it is nonetheless necessary to at least grasp such distinctions for consent to be meaningful. And for consent to confer any sort of obligation, it must meet certain conditions: consenting parties must be sufficiently informed about the terms they are consenting to, and their consent must be freely given
The express consent of the governed is necessary to confer legitimacy on the exercise of authority by a democratic government. However, it has been argued that hypothetical consent is sufficient to confer legitimacy upon basic principles of political order and that consent is not required for specific laws and policies: So long as there are effective means available for redress and reform, citizens must obey specific laws, which are legitimate if they are consistent with a fundamental constitutional structure that would win the consent of reasonable and sufficiently informed citizens.
In the medical field, there is a form of consent which is important to the exercise of medical authority. This is called informed consent. Informed consent in bioethics means that a patient who is capable of understanding moral categories such as right and wrong, to whom full disclosures have been made and who understands fully all that has been disclosed, consents voluntarily to treatment or participation on this basis.
In a 2019 Spring publication of ‘The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy’, Eyal Nir, in his work titled, ‘Informed Consent’ wrote thus: “In its most important role in bioethics, informed consent is a legitimacy requirement for certain actions. Inadequately informed consent makes certain intrusions impermissible. Roughly, when a sufficiently capacitated adult does not give sufficiently informed and voluntary consent to intervention in her body or her private sphere, then, at least when the intervention is substantial, not trivial, and absent severe jeopardy for third parties, the intervention is impermissible—even when it seeks to assist her, physicians recommend it, third parties would benefit from it, and the patient herself had repeatedly consented to it before expressing a change of mind. When the antecedent is inapplicable—for instance, when the patient lacks decision-making capacity—similarly spirited rules apply, such as rules delegating consent “authority” to the patient’s advance directive or proxy”.
Eyal, Nir further stated that “The simplest rationale for the informed consent requirement is that it protects study participants’ and patients’ health and welfare. It protects participants from investigators’ overzealous attempts to promote science and personal careers, even on participants’ backs, and it also protects regular patients from neglectful clinicians or from overconfident, but often wrong, paternalistic ones” Eyal Nir went further to state that the exceptions to informed consent include such as where there is “lack of decision-making capacity, or emergency circumstances where the patient’s wishes are unknown.”
Consent is at the root of Nigerian democracy. It is the consent to be governed through elected representative institutions and this is in essence a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. This consent is at the root of the adoption of a constitution, the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which is the Supreme law of the land and by which the elected representatives of the people of Nigeria must be guided. Thus any law that proposes or purports to remove the consent of Nigerians must conform or be subject to the provisions of the Constitution and by extension be backed by due process and the rule of law.
However, it is noted that the law allows a man to consent to the use of a reasonable degree of force on his person in certain circumstances recognised as lawful justification. Although it is noted that consent could be implied in certain circumstances, the acts of carrying out a medical examination, x-rays, surveillance in the guise of exercising the right to protect the public health interest is not sufficient to remove the right of an individual to privacy and the dignity of their persons in a democratic society. Informed consent is necessary to achieve any bodily intrusion of any citizen in Nigeria. There is no doubt that informed consent is important because of the dignity of a person which is guaranteed every Nigerian citizen. Nigerians have the right to own themselves, to personal integrity, to choose who to trust and not to be subjected to domination by any other person on the excuse of exercising a power that is not subject to judicial review. In fact, consent is tied to the right of every Nigerian to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
A lack of informed consent has long been established to give rise to torts of negligence, malpractice, battery and assault.
Where an invasion of the person is intended it is appropriate that the consent of that person be sought and where it would be mandated, should be achieved through judicial intervention.
OBSERVATIONS AND ANALYSIS
This proposed Bill purports to confer on the Director General of the National Centre for Disease Control powers which override the rights of Nigerian citizens to informed consent in respect of their right to autonomy and personal integrity. An individual’s right to informed consent is founded on these natural rights especially the right to think for oneself and to preserve the bodily integrity. Thus, to purport to take that right away means violating a person’s inviolable natural rights.
In Section 34 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), every Nigerian is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person. This is also provided for in Article 5 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ rights which states “Every individual shall have the right to the respect of the dignity inherent in a human being and to the recognition of this legal status. All forms of exploitation and degradation of man particularly slavery, slave trade, torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment and treatment shall be prohibited”
The proposed Bill authorizes the DG to order medical examinations on any person, subject to his discretion, and without recourse to the Courts or to the person’s consent. It further provides that any person who refuses commits an offence. This power is ultra vires the provision of Section 34 and is null and void. To allow this power is to downplay the supremacy of the Constitution. Also, the DG can impose or instruct a health care provider to carry out tests on individuals without consent, in breach of their rights to dignity and privacy, as well as the inalienable rights reposed in humanity. The Bill then goes ahead to absolve them from liability in Section 70.
Under Section 37 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), every Nigerian citizen is guaranteed the right to privacy. This right is also guaranteed under Article.17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Similarly, Article. 6 of the ACHPR provides for the protection of this right.
“The privacy of citizens, their homes, correspondence, telephone conversations and telegraphic communications is hereby guaranteed and protected”.
This means that the government is bound by the constitutional right to privacy. By extension this means no government can intrude into the private lives of citizens without first obtaining their consent. Thus, a government that purports to protect citizens from any infectious disease is also bound by this constitutional obligation to protect the right to privacy.
Even in the case of post mortem the DG is still empowered to carry out a post mortem on the dead body without first obtaining the consent of the family of the dead or having obtained a court warrant. This is wrong and also a breach of privacy.
Although, it may be argued that the right to privacy is not absolute and can be derogated in certain situations as provided for in Section 45 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended). However, it is important to note that any Act or Law which purports to override the right to privacy must conform to the mandatory proviso in Section 45 of the Constitution which states that
45. (1) Nothing in sections 37, 38, 39, 40 and 41 of this Constitution shall invalidate any law that is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society
Thus, in considering the application of Section 45 above, Lawmakers must be guided to the fact that the Constitution cannot intend that in protecting the rights of others there should a manifest disregard and abuse of the rights of an individual. In fact, such derogation must be proportional and necessary in a democratic society. Meaning that, in carrying out any derogative act, there should also be in place due process and compliance with the rule of law.
In other words, the Bill purports to remove from every Nigerian their civil rights to consent to the invasion of their person. That is, to violate their personal dignity, right to privacy as well as the right to be heard by the Court, before being subjected to this invasion.
36. (1) In the determination of his civil rights and obligations, including any question or determination by or against any government or authority, a person shall be entitled to a fair hearing within a reasonable time by a court or other tribunal established by law and constituted in such manner as to secure its independence and impartiality.
The powers purported to be granted on the DG are not only overreaching but tyrannical. The Minister or the DG cannot be empowered to usurp the powers of the Judiciary as provided in Section 70 of the proposed Bill and in the majority of the provisions of the Bill. This is contrary to the tenets of any democratic society.
Essentially, the Bill empowers the DG to override the consent of Nigerian citizens and where consent is denied, (since only the DG that can determine what constitutes reasonable excuse) to be forcefully obtained or the individual will be held liable for exercising their human will, and outside the purview of the Judiciary. This is contrary to the respect for the rule of law and due process.
Moreover, the concept of the human will was at the root of the promulgation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Otherwise a Hitler could arise from Nigeria to erase an ethnic group because he has been authorized by a law to do so.
Article 21 of the United Nations’ 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that;
“The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government.”
Government draws authority from the will of the people. The will of the people is clearly provided for in the Constitution and all arms of government are bound by it. Although it may be argued that once the people consent for a government to rule, they are bound by the decisions of that government, it is opined that the consent given does not extend to their human rights being outrightly violated; of which the right to dignity is one of those rights that cannot be alienated or derogated at all times.
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) introduced the concept of non-derogable rights. This instrument made a clause that even in the state of emergencies in a nation there would be certain rights which has to be provided to citizens at any cost and they cannot be suspended. Non derogable rights are rights that subsists even in a state of emergency or in a state of protecting those situations envisaged by Section 45 of the 1999 Constitution, that is, in the interest of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health; or for the purpose of protecting the rights and freedom or other persons. This simply means that Non-derogable rights cannot be suspended even where there is a declaration of a state of public health emergency as intended by this Bill.
Even in the exercise of his powers, according to Section 305 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), the right to proclaim an emergency, the President is himself bound by the provisions of the Constitution and must act within the confines of the provisions within.
305. (1) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the President may by instrument published in the Official -Gazette of the Government of the Federation issue a Proclamation of a state of emergency in the Federation or any part thereof.
The exercise of a State of Emergency does not suspend the Constitution or the machineries of the Judiciary, which is the third arm of government, independent and expected to be functional during such a declaration of emergency. This means States of emergency cannot be used as a rationale or pretext for suspending rights and freedoms guaranteed under the Nigerian Constitution and particularly the non derogable rights. For instance it cannot be used to revoke Habeas Corpus.
Therefore, any Bill or law that derogates from the clear provisions of the Constitution is inconsistent with the Constitution and is null and void to the extent of its inconsistency as provided for in Section 1 (3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
Furthermore, the Bill raises the issue of data protection, privacy and acquisition. The Bill proposes that the DG can request information about individuals from any person or health care professionals without this request being called to question or subjected to international best practices on data protection, such as to obtain the consent of the owner or where such is denied to apply to the Court for a Warrant. It is noted though, that Health care providers have dual loyalties that require them to uphold and respect patient autonomy while also serving the public at large by reporting certain public health hazards However, in balancing that loyalty, recourse must be had to the supremacy of the Constitution and upholding of due process and the rule of law.
Furthermore, this power is being allowed in a country where law makers have refused and failed to pass a principal and comprehensive data privacy and protection law in Nigeria that will secure the protection of citizen’s information and prevent intrusion from government and its agencies.
Another observation is the recurrent use of the term ‘without warrant’. The Bill allows the DG and anyone he authorizes to carry out acts without warrant, which would otherwise amount to the violation of constitutionally guaranteed rights. This term is problematic as it purports amongst others, to subsume an individual’s right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
In all of these, the most perturbing thought is that both the DG and the Minister of health are individuals appointed by the President. They were not elected to act on behalf of the Nigerian people. It is quite amusing that the DG is given all these powers without them being subjected to checks by the Judiciary. This Bill empowers the DG to breach an individual’s right to the dignity of his person including right to private and family life and does not give the opportunity for a warrant to be obtained from the Court before such a power is exercised.
To have an executive power exercised by an unelected agent of the Executive arm of government is an overstretch of the Executive power and is null and void because it is ultra vires the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
In canvassing for the protection of human rights and respect for the rule of law and due process, few recommendations are enumerated below. Law makers should consider first, their allegiance to protecting the supremacy of the constitution. They should pay attention to laws and regulations already promulgated in Nigeria and in other democratic societies in the world.
- Mandating consent must be subjected to judicial review. The Bill should be reviewed to include provisions that will respect and comply with the rule of law. For instance, the Bill can be worded as follows: ‘…that the DG may apply to the court for an order mandating the suspected individual to present themselves for medical examination or medical treatment or surveillance, etc…” In this case the DG shall provide cogent and sufficient reasons for the request. The Bill could be modified to read that an application by the DG, or any other so authorized by the DG shall be made by way of a motion on notice, supported by an affidavit, stating the reasons for believing that the alleged individual should be mandated to undergo any examination, treatment or surveillance or as the case may be.
- If drafting any law, the National Assembly needs to take into cognizance the nature of the Nigerian democratic system and help it to progress by ensuring that laws passed are in tandem with democratic tenets. For instance, the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 of England provides for the insertion of ‘summary conviction’ for every offence defined in the Act.This means that an offender is subject to trial before the Court and will be given an opportunity to enjoy his rights to fair hearing. In fact, it is obvious that the drafters of this law understood the importance of human will and the respect of the Constitution. An example is Section 19 of the said Act. It provides:
Trading etc. by person with notifiable disease
A person who, knowing that he is suffering from a notifiable disease, engages in or carries on any trade, business or occupation which he cannot engage in or carry on without risk of spreading the disease shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 1 on the standard scale.
- The Bill should be modified to recognise the importance of obtaining Warrants before taking steps to deprive any person of their constitutionally guaranteed rights. In Canada for instance, the patient must provide consent to the taking of blood sample or the police officer must provide the healthcare provider with a warrant authorizing the taking of a sample. Allowing such an invasion or intrusion does not serve to advance the Nigerian democracy but rather tilts towards autocracy.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in its WHO Guidelines on drawing blood : best practices in phlebotomy , published in 2018, “Phlebotomy – the drawing of blood – has been practised for centuries and is still one of the most common invasive procedures in health care. Each step in the process of phlebotomy affects the quality of the specimen and is thus important for preventing laboratory error, patient injury and even death. For example, the touch of a finger to verify the location of a vein before insertion of the needle increases the chance that a specimen will be contaminated. This can cause false blood culture results, prolong hospitalization, delay diagnosis and cause unnecessary use of antibiotics. Jostling and jarring of test tubes in transit can lyse or break open red blood cells, causing false laboratory results. Clerical errors in completing forms and identifying patients are common, costly and preventable. Other adverse effects for patients are common; they include bruising at the site of puncture, fainting, nerve damage and haematomas… Patient consent and cooperation are important components of respecting patient rights…”
- Another resource that should be carefully studied by the drafters of this Bill, is the Nigeria \Data Protection Regulation 2019, issued by the National Information Technology Development Agency. This Regulation defines data to include a name, a photo, an email address, bank details, medical information, computer internet protocol (IP) address and any other information specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that natural person.
It defined ‘Personal data’ as the information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person. In other words, the kind of data that the Regulation seeks to protect does not include corporate information except where such information relates to natural persons. The Regulation applies to all transactions that involve the processing of personal data. It addressed what it takes to process data and defined Processing to mean any action carried out on personal information. It includes collection, recording, organisation, storage, adaptation, alteration, retrieval, use, disclosure or dissemination.
That regulation also describes in details what it takes to require and use personal data. Thus, a person who determines what happens to personal information must do so in accordance with the legal basis provided by the Regulation. The legal basis for processing includes any of the following:
The processing has been consented to by the Data Subject; The processing is for the performance of a contract;
The processing is required for compliance with a legal obligation;
The processing is required for protection of the vital interest of a data subject or another natural person;
or the processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest.
Subsequently, the Data Controller may proceed to obtain the information from the Data Subject. In doing so, the Data Controller must supply the Data Subject with certain information such as:
The identity and contact details of the Data Controller;
The contact details of the Data Protection Officer;
The purpose for which the data will be processed as well as the legal basis; Recipient(s) of the data;
The period for storing personal information;
Rights of the Data Subject;
Possible transfer of the information to 3rd parties, foreign countries or international organization.
- Another example that can serve as a guide is the 2011 National Guidelines for HIV Counselling and Testing. These guidelines appreciated the sensitive nature of invading the person, body of a human being. It requires consent for an individual to undergo HIV tests and Counselling.
As much as there is an urgent need to provide a law to address the coronavirus disease, present and future circumstances, it is important that our law makers follow a human rights-based response to the pandemic. They are in the best position to ensure that there is transparency and observance of due process and the rule of law in making laws. As a result, they should ensure that legislation protects human rights and advance effective prevention and care programmes. As advocates, they should mobilise the involvement of government, private sector, and civil society to discharge their societal responsibilities in responding appropriately to this pandemic.
This Bill that purports to remove Nigerians’ consent for the respect and preservation of their bodily integrity and privacy is an assault on our democratic principles and a disregard on the role of due process and the Supremacy of the constitution.
- Eyal, Nir, “Informed Consent”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2019 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2019/entries/informed-consent/>.
- Bobade Olutide & Ors V. Adams Hamzat & Ors (2016) Lpelr-26047(Ca)
- Uzoukwu & Ors v. Ezeonu II &Ors 1991) 6 NWLR (Pt.200) 708
- WHO Guidelines on drawing blood : best practices in phlebotomy , published in 2018
 Consent POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY AND ETHICS WRITTEN BY: Loren A. King https://www.britannica.com/topic/consent-political-philosophy-and-ethics
 Eyal, Nir, “Informed Consent”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2019 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2019/entries/informed-consent/>.
Mojirayo Ogunlana-Nkanga is an Abuja based legal practitioner, a human rights and media rights advocate.