Court Dismisses Melaye’s Suit Against NCDC Bill

The Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday dismissed a suit filed by a former Kogi West senator, Dino Melaye, challenging some provisions of the controversial Control of Infectious Diseases Bill 2020, widely referred to as the National Centre for Disease Control Bill.

Delivering judgment in the fundamental rights enforcement suit, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu upheld the notices of preliminary objection filed against the ex-senator’s suit in holding that the suit was not justiciable and the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain it.

The judge, who did not bother to consider the case on merit, held that the bill could not be a subject of litigation until it is signed into law.

She ruled that “The bill has not been passed into law. The court can only examine the law which has been enacted.”

Although the judge affirmed that Melaye had shown sufficient interest to justify his right to institute the suit, she noted that a bill had no legal effect and could not have violated the plaintiff’s right as she alleged.

She added that the court could strike down any law if it was shown to have violated the Constitution, saying, “But the court cannot jump the gun.

“The jurisdiction of the court can only crystalise when the bill is enacted into law. The power of the court to interfere is restricted in line with the doctrine of separation of power.”

The judge described the “concerns” raised by Melaye about the bill as grave, but urged him to take advantage of the public hearing, which precedes the passage of a bill into law to table his grievances.

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