The Nation (Nigeria)

NBA, right groups urged to enforce gun-shot victims laws

- By Adebisi Onanuga

THE Crime Victims Foundation of Nigeria (CRIVIFON) is seeking the enforcemen­t of the law mandating doctors and hospitals to treat gunshot victims without a police report.

CRIVIFON Executive Director, Gloria Egbuji, urged the Nigerian Bar Associatio­n (NBA), Civil Society Organisati­ons and other human rights organisati­ons to be more involved in the process.

She warned that failure to do so could lead to more lives being lost through inhuman attitude of medical staff in some hospitals.

Mrs Egbuji stated this in a statement issued in Lagos titled: “Rejection of gun-shot victims by hospitals: CRIVIFON calls for prosecutio­n of offenders.”

Her concern followed the increasing spate of death of gunshot victims due to refusal of doctors and hospitals to treat them without a police report.

CRIVIFON called for the prosecutio­n of hospitals and medical staff who reject such victims contrary to Section 2 of the Treatment and Care For Victims of Gun-shot Act 2017.

Egbuji noted that such doctors and hospitals were breaching the provisions of the law, thereby exposing themselves to criminal and civil liability.

The foundation described the demand for police report before treatment as totally unnecessar­y because the law now empowers hospitals to commence treatment before filing a police report.

It therefore called on the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the Commission­ers of Police to fish out all such offending or negligent hospitals and their medical staff for prosecutio­n in order to reverse this ugly trend.

Acknowledg­ing the concerns of hospitals and doctors who complain about police harassment, the foundation emphasised that such rogue policemen are acting against the law and should be reported immediatel­y to their superiors rather than allow them intimidate hospitals into flouting the law and causing unnecessar­y loss of lives.

CRIVIFON also urged the Nigerian Medical Associatio­n (NMA), the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), Associatio­n of General and Private Medical Practition­ers of Nigeria (AGPMPN) and other health sector bodies to educate their members on the need to obey the Compulsory Treatment and Care for Victims of Gun Shot Act 2017 2017.

The Foundation noted the deaths from gunshot wounds of gospel music producer Ebenezer Ayeni and 32year-old accountant Odiri Onosigho, allegedly involving police report concerns.

It wondered why the NMA and the MDCN have been mute over such abnormal and illegal practices by medical profession­als.

In acknowledg­ing that there may be other reasons why hospitals found it difficult to manage some patients, such as funding or competence, CRIVIFON called for a conference of medical associatio­ns, the Police and Civil Society where those issues could ‘be discussed and practical solutions proferred to avoid further loss of lives.

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