The Lagos State House of Assembly has passed an emergency bill to help the state combat the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The bill, sponsored by the Speaker of the House, Mudashiru Obasa, is tagged the Emergency Coronavirus Pandemic Bill 2020.
It affords the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the legislative concurrence to spend an initial N20 billion to effectively curtail the virus and enforce compliance by residents in the state.
The bill was presented on the floor of the chamber on Thursday by the Deputy Majority Leader, Noheem Adams, after which it scaled the first and second readings.
It was then passed to the House Committee on Health for further legislative actions.
The bill was later laid before the House by the Committee Chairman on Health, Hakeem Sokunle, after which it scaled the third reading as a result of the urgent requirements to ensure its speedy passage.
It gives the governor the opportunity to make recourse back to the House before any regulations.
The bill also stipulates a fine of N100,000 for defaulters, one-month imprisonment in the correctional centre, or three months community service.
Where the offence is not spelled out, it attracts N200,000 and also allows the leadership of the various arms of government to structure their own restriction format.
Section 8 of the bill makes provision for the Coronavirus Trust Fund, while the bill empowers the governor to declare a state of emergency of up to three months if the situation requires so.
In his remarks, the lawmaker representing Ikeja Constituency II, Adedamola Kasunmu, believes it is important to alleviate the impact of the virus on the economy of Lagos.
He noted that the bill would enable the executive to expend necessary funds to curtail the spread of the virus by providing adequate facilities in the state-owned hospitals.
Mr Gbolahan Yishawu (Eti-Osa II), in his contribution, said, “We urge Lagosians to bear with us. Pandemics are not new, but the way government and people react to it matters to 150 states in the world.
“Lagos recorded the first case, so they should look at the possibility to broaden it to capture much more.”
Another lawmaker, Rotimi Olowo (Somolu I), noted that the spread of the virus was unprecedented and as a result, stringent measures needed to be taken to forestall the pandemic.
Presiding over the plenary, Speaker Obasa said the contingency plan in the budget cannot sort out the current issue.
“Government needs to be seen doing something, making effective pronouncements. The governor can make recourse back to the House if need be.
“If the budget procedure takes much time that can’t suffice, the kick-off fund will help,” he explained.