Femi Falana, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has asked the court to order the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to establish COVID-19 testing and treatment centres in Kogi and Cross River states.
The presidential task force on COVID-19 has complained about different occasions that both states have not shown a commitment to the fight against coronavirus.
Two days ago, Elsie Ilori, head of disease surveillance at NCDC, had said none of the 21 local government areas in Kogi collected samples for testing in August while only one council collected samples in July.
In a suit, with number FHC/ABJ/CS/1091/2020, filed at the federal high court in Abuja on Tuesday, Falana declared that all those living in the two states are entitled to the fundamental rights to health as guaranteed by the constitution.
He argued that the failure of NCDC to establish a “functional centre for the detection, prevention and controls of the spread of corona-virus pandemic (COVID-19) in Cross River and Kogi states is a violation of the rights to life and health of all citizens guaranteed by section 33 (1) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and Articles 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (Cap A9) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.”
He said the NCDC is under a legal obligation to establish functional centres in the states.
He further sought an order directing NCDC “to establish a functional centre in Cross River and Kogi states for the detection, prevention and control of the spread of COVID-19 forthwith.”
In June, the Kogi state government said it has partnered with the United States Centre for Disease Control (CDC) to set up a reference molecular laboratory for COVID-19 tests.
The NCDC has, however, activated two testing centres in Cross River and one in Kogi.