The House described the directive as timely and commendable considering complaints by Nigerians about hospitals that refuse treatment of victims of gunshot, and robbery, who do not present police reports.
The House of Representatives has commended the office of the Inspector-General of Police for its recent directive to all police formations and commands on the compulsory adherence to the Treatment and Care of Victims of Gunshot Act 2017.
This even it urged the Nigeria Police and the Nigeria Medical Association to follow through on the commitment to strict compliance with the Act and prosecute offenders who contravene it.
Recall that the IGP on 25 October 2023, issued a memo directing police personnel to comply with the law and enforce its provisions.
Also recall that following the death of Ms. Greatness Olorunfemi, a victim of “one-chance” robbery in Abuja, who was denied treatment at the General Hospital, Maitama, Abuja, the House of Representatives, in a motion, decried the culture of hospitals denying gunshot and accident victims treatment for lack of police reports even as a petition was also brought before the House regarding the incident.
The House, in a statement jointly signed by the Chairmen of the House Committees on Police Affairs and Media and Public Affairs, Rep. Makki Abubakar Yalleman and Rep. Akin Rotimi, also lauded the Nigeria Police boss’ initiative of educating hospitals about the law to prevent further avoidable deaths of gunshot victims.
The statement reads, “The House of Representatives welcomes the recently publicised signal from the Office of the Inspector-General of Police to various formations and commands of the Nigeria Police Force, on the Compulsory Treatment and Care for Victims of Gunshot Act 2017.
“The internal memo dated October 25, 2023, directed the Officers to comply with the law and enforce its provision without hesitation.
“Worthy of note in the memo signed by the IGP’s Principal Staff Officer, CSP Olatunji Disu, is the directive to the various police formations and commands to “make the law a subject of lecture” to cure the ignorance in many hospitals about the position of the law, which unfortunately has led to the loss of many lives.
“It is to be noted that issues around compliance with the Compulsory Treatment and Care for Victims of Gunshot Act recently became a subject of public discourse following the death of Ms. Greatness Olorunfemi, a brilliant Nigerian who was a victim of a one-chance robbery in Abuja on Tuesday, September 26, 2023.
“A petition was laid before the House in respect of this incident during plenary on Tuesday, October 10, 2023, by Hon. Chris Nkwonta representing Ukwa East/West Federal Constituency of Abia State. The matter is now before the House Committee on Public Petitions.
“To be clear, the House maintains that the professional calling of physicians, nurses, and emergency care personnel, as well as dictates of extant laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, prescribes that every Nigerian brought to any hospital deserves the duty of care, stabilisation, and dignity, regardless of the condition they are brought in, or the apparent cause of the distress or trauma.
“The House, therefore, views this development from the Nigeria Police Force as timely and commendable considering rising complaints by Nigerians about hospitals that decline prompt treatment of victims of gunshot incidents, robberies, and even vehicular accidents who do not present police reports.
“The IG’s action offers relief that value is placed on the life of every citizen and restores confidence in our hospitals.
“The House urges the Nigeria Police and the Nigeria Medical Association to follow through on this commitment to strict compliance with the Act and prosecute offenders who contravene the same.
“We also call on the Media and relevant agencies of the Executive Arm of Government to give wide publicity to this matter,” the lawmakers said.