An activist. Gloria Egbuji, the Executive Director, Crime Victims Foundation of Nigeria, CRIVIFON, has insisted that rights of victims of gun shot must be respected in order to avoid needless waste of human lives in the country.
This position was made known recently by CRIVIFON’s Head while speaking with journalists in Lagos.
CRIVIFON, a non government organisation supporting victims of crimes and abuse in Nigeria, advocated that compliance with the compulsory treatment and care of victims of gunshots and accidents must be embraced by medical and law enforcement agencies.
She advised enforcement agencies to work within the ambit of the Compulsory Treatment and Care of Victims of Gunshots and Accidents Act, 2017.
She was of the opinion that asking doctor to report gun shots wounds victims to security personnel before treating them does not conform with the law passed in January 2018 by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The law expert says harassing doctors have made hospitals sometimes develop cold feet about receiving gunshot patients because of the often cumbersome nature of police statement-taking and investigative procedures.
She urged law enforcement agencies to develop better, more convenient and faster ways of taking statements from medical personnel, rather than subjecting them to “endless statements”.
She noted that due to the non-cooperation of some hospitals, lives have been lost, as she cited instances where lives were cut short due to demands for police report.
Egbuji said, “In the last 18 months, Nigeria has lost some of her citizens through the careless refusal of the hospitals to accept the victims for treatment,” she added.
“Among the recent victims of gunshot who died as a result of the refusal of hospitals to treat them without a police report, even after the enactment of the Gunshot Victims Act, was a gospel music producer cum final year Higher National Diploma, HND, student at The Ibadan Polytechnic popularly known as Ebenezer Ayeni.
“He was shot on Thursday, June 10, 2021, at his Ibadan, Oyo state residence by armed robbers a few days before his wedding.
“He was said to have been rushed to the University College Hospital, UCH, Ibadan and later a private hospital but was 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 blood.”
She also said, “Since 1998, the organisation has been leading the cause of gunshots and accidents victims by urging medical staff in private and public hospitals to admit the victims for treatment before asking them to produce a police report.
“It is now an offence for medical facilities to deny any gunshot or accident victim the right to be treated before being subjected to the submission of a police report.
“It is also an offence for the police to arrest or harass medical staff for treating a gunshot or accident victim who does not have a police report at the time of admission.”
Egbuji further urged state governments to domesticate the law, and provide funds for indigent victims to get quick treatment.