OPEN LETTER TO THE NIGERIAN SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVE: THE DANGEROUS TOYING WITH THE LIFE AND DESTINY OF THE PRESENT AND FUTURE GENERATIONS OF NIGERIANS, A CALL TO HALT THE INFAMY CALLED INFECTIOUS DISEASES CONTROL BILL 2020
The Senate President,
The Speaker of the House of Representatives
The Members of the National Assembly
1.It is with heavy heart and shock that we rise to bring to your exalted tables this open letter, with the sincere hope that for the first time, you will be aroused to see reasons to back-pedal on this war of annihilation which you have mysteriously elected to wage on the very electorate that voted you into office and the masses of this nation , even the generation unborn. It beats every imagination of the heart, that men and women, addressed as distinguished Senators and Hon Members of House of Representatives, could descend so low in wisdom as to pour acid into the health and economic sores inflicted on us by Covid-19 virus, earlier called Wuhan-400 by the international scientists and Health experts, even at the peak of our travail. What a tragedy!
2. If not for the unprecedented politicization and economic predatory tendencies exhibited by the authorities both in Nigeria and international community, Corona virus is much less serious epidemic compared with Ebola and Lassa fever which this nation had combatted successfully in the past, without confusion, convolution, intrigues and noise-making, gnashing of teeth and anguish that are the order of the day now.
3. May we draw your attention to the fact that this proposed bill is absolutely ill-timed, unnecessary, and an act of betrayal of the people of this nation.
4. We make bold to declare that due and adequate notice was given to us before Corona virus was imported into the country. All indications point to the basic truth that this virus is man-made and was deliberately unleashed on mankind by powerful forced that want full control and dominion of the earth, politically, economically and religiously. The National Assembly failed in their duty to make urgent law, motions and ensure that the executive arm enforces them, to prevent the importation of this virus, by way of early closure of our international borders and quarantining few Nigerians returning from other lands. By this failure the national Assembly has advertently or inadvertently become an accomplice in this deadly war against Nigerians and humanity.
5. What is a vaccine one may ask? A vaccine is a biological preparation of an infective organism, in its dead, attenuated or weakened form or a very low dose of an active organism, administered to humans or animals, for the purpose of stimulating the immune system of the body to fight the organism causing infection( active immunization, tetanus toxoid) It can also be a preparation produced by using serum of an infected person to mass produce antibodies against an infective organism (passive immunization, example Anti-Tetanus serum, ATS).
In the recent time, scientists have developed genetic engineering methods of developing drugs modifying plants and animal. This involves creating a segment of genetic material or code (mRNA) similar to a virus which when injected into the body of an animal will get incorporated into the genes of the cells. They can now start controlling the body to do things it was not naturally designed to do and may alter a lot of characters and functions of the body. This has been adopted in Corona vaccine production. It has generated a lot of controversies, including legal, ethical and heritage issues, including the much talked about genetic certificates by Bill Gate, that approval is yet to be given. Some of this vaccines being touted for Covid -19 are genetically engineered.
6. It takes about two years for development and full clinical trials of a vaccine to be completed to determine its safety and efficacy. Many of complications of vaccines, particularly negative effects on the kidneys, heart and brain takes months or years to become clinically evident.
7. Relying on the evidence of the superpowers who manufactured Covid-19 virus and spread it to us, the virus is only known to man for four months (December to April). So, when was the vaccine the National Assembly wants to compulsorily inject into Nigerians produced, passed through phase1, phase 2, and Phase 3 clinical trials? When did the mass production for the 180 million Nigerians start? Which nations have approved the vaccine for their citizens? What is the trade name and type of the vaccines you have in mind? Which strains of corona virus do we have in Nigeria and for which strain is the vaccine ready ? These are questions you must answer before embarking on this dangerous assignment for your masters and collaborators.
8. Be it known to the National Assembly members that universal law, the medical oath forbid any doctor or health personnel from administering any drug that has not passed due scientific diligence, including such vaccines undergoing phase three clinical trials approved by relevant ethical committee in Nigeria, as well as NAFDAC approval.
9. We noted that the National immunization programs , which involves immunization against tuberculosis, measles, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, hepatitis, yellow fever, cerebrospinal meningitis etc have been executed successfully over the years by past governments without any specific laws but through reasonable persuasion and health education and free and adequate availability of the services to the door steps to Nigerians. Indeed, many parents and adults pay to get their children Immunized without being compelled by any law, showing excellent compliance by Nigerians.
10. There has been many epidemic diseases ravaging mankind without success in their vaccine production, eg HIV/AIDS, seasonal Flu, Cov-SARS 2 , Ebola, Lassa fever, despite concerted effort by scientists worldwide. One wonders what is giving our legislators this bizarre confidence that a vaccine is ready, that requires legislation for its enforcement.
11. On the contrary, while we appreciated the efforts of NCDC in tackling the pandemic, in spite of the unfavorable political environment and other challenges militating against the work, we observe the abysmal failure of the Presidential Taskforce and NCDC to meet the demands of this situation. There are countless tales of woes for failure or inadequate response by the government and NCDC officials to distress calls from Nigerians when they have suspicion of falling ill with corona virus. The tales of multitude that died without receiving medical attention and poor or no care at the isolation centres has reached high heavens. Is it those who want to be tested but has nowhere to go or are turned down at the designated test centres? The unusual secrecy with which the Covid fight is prosecuted makes it a mystery and creates obvious doubts as to what Government’s intentions are. All these push the people to become aggressive to the Covid -19 and Government Officials, creating a false impression of unco-operative attitude by few Nigerians. Thus there is no justification for contemplating a law for the Covid-19 and any future epidemic. It is Government rising to her responsibility that is the challenge.
13. ADF notes with sadness, that the problem of this nation is not lack of laws but lack of political will and sincerity of purpose to implement existing laws. It is a universal medical and legal ethical code that any death of indeterminate cause must undergo autopsy before a certificate of death is issues by a medical officer or Police officer in-charge of such matter. Co-incidentally, such deaths are legally called “corona cases”. Likewise, no person can convey a dead body from one place to another or to burial ground without a death certificate and nobody can bury without a valid death certificate from a hospital or Police in-charge of the inquest. Thus cases of death by suspected Covid-19 disease falls under this code. Ask the Police and the Pathologists. Governments of the day controls activities at the cemeteries, owns the Police and the Hospitals, why do they need more laws for this obligation?
12. ADF, noted that there is practically no difference between the version of the Bills being rushed by the House of Representatives and the Senate. The landmines are the same in both documents, not minding the different headings. We observe that this bills are grand designs to install total authoritarianism and dictatorship, and weapon to hound and cage opposition voices, both political and civil society groups and ousting the jurisdiction of the Court.
13. The next contentious issue is the deliberate absence of the key words in most clauses or sections of these bills. The key words are; EPIDEMIC and PANDEMIC. Infectious disease becomes of public health interest when the outbreak reaches an epidemic or pandemic level order wise, it is a hospital headache. Thus isolated or an individual case cannot attract draconian actions as envisaged in the bill. Infectious diseases have been with us for ages and no such law has been employed to deal with them but education, strategic curative or treatment and rehabilitative interventions. Without the Key words, the law will be prone to brazen abuse.
14. The issue of given uncontrolled or un-moderated powers to a civil servant in the person of DG of NCDC and his boss, unelected public servant in the person of the Minister of health to arrest citizen, without court warrant, even on flimsiest excuse of suspicion of a Nigerian being a carrier, or came in contact with a carrier is an open cheque for the police and health officers to harass and intimidate, terrorize and arrest opponents and enemies both real and imaginary, under the pretext of protecting public health. This is official institution of anarchy. Arrest of an individual without an iota of evidence of an offence or breaking the law is a rape of fundamental human right which must be resisted at all cost.
15. The compulsory vaccination of all Nigerians is scientifically and legally flawed. Some diseases when contacted , even without symptoms stimulate development of natural immunity, to the extent that vaccination in such individuals are useless at best but could be dangerous as the vaccine can trigger adverse immune reactions. Also, some people are genetically endowed with resistance against some infectious diseases, for instance , some adult Nigerians (2%) do not suffer malaria, thus it is scientifically unjustifiable to enforce immunization by military fiat when no one knows the behavior and biology of the disease as in the case of Covid-19.
Above all, it is against the fundamental human right to force an individual to take any form of treatment , more so an invasive treatment as vaccine. One can only be persuaded through education. Even Almighty God gave man a choice between life and death and so such fundamental human right is only denied in demonic nations as in the communist and dictatorship nations where freedom is out of stock. No one should turn our nation to China or North Korea.
16. Section 20, of the House of Rep version deals with prohibition of meetings and public gathering. The subsection one is poorly or craftily worded to give the NCDC DG unfettered powers to stop any gathering or meeting when there is no epidemic or outbreak. He cannot be faulted for stopping an APC National Committee meeting or rally on the ground that a member of APC present is suffering or just recovered from typhoid fever or malaria. A political rally, or labour or professional body protest or rally can be stopped by a health officer of level seven or a police constable on the ground that one person in the rally is suffering from hepatitis or gastro-enteritis. It is glaring that this section is not intended to deal with epidemic or pandemic.
17. These bills gives the minister, a member of the executive arm of Government a final say on the human right issues, thus ousting the authority and powers of the judiciary to entertain appeals on any matter that has to do with right violation under this law.
18. Finally, we want to remind the honorable Legislators that the health system of this country has collapsed and Nigerians are dying in their thousands with covid-19 accounting for less than 10%. The Hospitals are now Ghost territories. There are no consumables and drugs, no equipment, no PPE, no electricity and water for the health personnel that are poorly motivated and under staffed to work. There is no manufacturing capacity in this country for these. Even if Covid-19 disappears tomorrow morning, there is no hope of recovery of the slumped healthcare institutions. The bandits, kidnappers, herdsmen militia, who kill more than covid-19 are only on temporary and isolated covid –induced break. No! they are able to freely move and terrorize from state to state, from city to city, unmolested by the security forces mounting uncountable road blocks, despite the presidential order for interstate Lockdown and night curfew in Nigeria.
How far with the fight against Boko Haram, has the Nigerian Army taken over our territories recovered by President Husein Habre of Chad? These are areas we expect should give you sleepless nights, now that medical tourism is suspended, or have those foreign powers sponsoring the bills assured you of air ambulance and hospital care in Cuba and China?
Your legislative actions are despirately needed in these directions. You should know that the jet speed with which you are pursuing this misadventure, against the background of the allegation of multimillion dollar bribe by some foreign pharmaceutical companies to surrender Nigerians as guinea pig, speaks volume and gives credence to the accusation that you are agents of the same satanic force who unleashed this terror with unprecedented economic and health services collapse on us.
We join other well-meaning Nigerians to urge you to take urgent measures to withdraw your arms and prove to Nigerians that you are not the servants of these powerful International enemies.
We wish to appreciate some of our Representatives in the House of Representatives and the Senate led by our able and distinguished Senator Abaribe. We ask you to remain resolute, we are solidly behind you and Almighty Jehovah that rules in the affairs of men shall surely shield, strengthen and uphold you.
And to those few Legislators from Alaigbo who are part of the gang sponsoring these Bills, take this memo as a final notice from Ndigbo. If you do not withdraw your support for these and similar Bills, Ndigbo will be left with no other option than to declare and treat you as enemies of good governance and democracy.
May Almighty God Bless us.
Dr. Onyemuche Ibeneche
Chairman, ADF Health Committee
Dr. Arinze Nwosu
Secretary, ADF Health Committee
Hon. Abia Onyike
Chairman, ADF Publicity bureau