By Frank Oshanugor
A Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), the Crime Victims Foundation of Nigeria (CRIVIFON) has condemned in strong terms the recently reported cases of rejection by hospitals of gunshot victims for treatment which eventually led to their death.
In a statement signed by its Executive Director, Barr.(Mrs) Gloria Egbuji and issued on Saturday, the Foundation described as inhuman the rejection by the hospital authorities to accept the victims for treatment before asking for police report.
A gospel music producer popularly known as Ebenezer Ayeni was shot on Thursday 10th June, 2021 at his Ibadan, Oyo State residence by armed robbers few days to his wedding. He was said to have been rushed to the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan and later a private hospital but reportedly rejected by hospital staff who demanded a police report before they could treat his gunshot injury. He died hours later in a pool of his own blood.
The Foundation also recalled that on April 15, 2021, a 32-year-old Odiri Onosigho; an accountant was similarly shot by armed robbers who were trying to collect his phone at First Gate Bus Stop, FESTAC in Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area of Lagos.
The accountant allegedly lost his life after being rejected by hospitals due to non presentation of police report.
Worried by the increasing number of gunshot victims who died after being rejected by hospitals due to non presentation of police report before treatment, Egbuji wondered why the hospitals should be acting contrary to the extant law of the land with respect to the treatment of gunshot and accident victims.
The Foundation recalled that the issue of accepting gunshot victims for treatment had drawn so much attention for many years until the National Assembly came up with a law known as the Compulsory Treatment and Care of Victims of Gunshots and Accident Law in 2018.
The Act makes provision for the Compulsory treatment and care of the victims of gunshot and other matters. Such victims are to be given unrestricted access to medical services as well as strengthen legal provisions and guarantee people’s fundamental rights to life and dignity of their persons. The Act also makes it necessary for the hospitals to report such cases to the police while treating the victims for security reasons.
The Crime Victims Foundation of Nigeria has therefore asked the law enforcement agents to take seriously the disobedience of hospitals to the existing law on treatment of gunshot and accidents.
It would be recalled that since the Act came into existence in 2018, police authorities had directed hospitals to comply with the provisions of the law by accepting to treat gunshot and accident victims without subjecting them to the provision of police report before they are given treatment.
It is on record that CRIVIFON was in the fore front of agitation for the acceptance of Gunshots Victims for treatment by hospitals across the federation without subjecting them to getting police report before their lives are saved. The Foundation’s advocacy on the right of gunshot victims to receive unhindered access to medical services began sometime in 1998 and its Executive Director never relented until the emergence of an Act