NMA, Other Medical Workers Unions Should Host Dialogue With Nigerian Police On Treatment Of Gunshot/Accident Victims

By Kemi Yesufu

I tried my best to push aside the story of the beautiful young HR expert, Greatness Olufemi, who died from the wounds sustained from her encounter with Abuja’s ‘one-chance’ demons whom the FCT police command seem too scared to get rid of. But a dear friend just shared another FB user’s post on the rejection of the late HR specialist by the Maitama General hospital over her not presenting a police report, allegedly leading to her death.

I am so ashamed of doctors and other medical personnel, who have continued to behave like uneducated, ignorant people. Medical personnel and their CMDs should show us the sections of the Nigerian Constitution where it says an accident victim or even a gunshot victim MUST present a so called police report to be treated!
It’s only in a backward and callous country like Nigeria where an emergency case would need to get up his/her feet to go to a police station to get a so called clearance report!
If the NMA or other many medical workers associations cared, they would have long organised a seminar with the Nigeria Police Force on this vexed issue of police report for the treatment emergency cases and both sides would take their time to study and agree on what the law says about accident and gunshot victims rushed to hospital, swinging between life and death.
We have the compulsory treatment of gunshot victims 2017 act signed into law by President Buhari which is automatically operational in the FCT as the National Assembly legislates for the FCT. What it means is that late HR specialist should have been attended to and her matter reported to the police within two hours.
My quick research online shows that progressive states like Lagos and Delta have also passed similar versions of the law.
For the states which have passed versions of this law, the question of how they can make it operational now arises.
Years back, when a female ‘corper’ coming from her passing-out parade party was shot by a trigger happy police man and she was rejected by Garki Hospital Abuja, with the same demand for a police report, I called a senior doctor to ask why hospitals still rejected gunshot victims? He said among other things, that the police still harras doctors and hospitals who treat these desperate patients. He also said the gunshot victims law is silent on who pays for the treatment of the patient! Nigeria as we all know still operates the archaic out-of-pocket payment for medical care. We also are the poverty capital of the world, so, a doctors is safer to assume that the average person will struggle to pay for a costly intervention like treating a gunshot.
Based on my interaction with the doctor and this new case I wish to reiterate the need for us to ammend the gunshot victim law to state clearly who pays/how hospitals who attend to these victims will be paid. We also need to increase the fine to be paid by regenaging hospitals as we hope that families like that of this late HR specialists take up the matter and sue hospitals like Maitama General Hospital. The ammendment of laws which regulate medical practice and the provision of health services should be spareheaded by doctors and other medical personnel. It’s time to go beyond strikes for welfare matters only.
On the part of the police, it worries me that it seems President Tinubu will still not be that President who will carry out far reaching reforms for our policing and the entire security architecture. Firstly, his IGP is carrying out routine stuff, the same old outdated visits to commands and receiving visitors like a traditional ruler. There has been absolutely no new ideas from the man. For me, any IGP who will reform the police will push for laws that will modernise the operations of the police and show us who they protect, how he wants to use the police trust fund to reposition the police. We must move the police from its archaic ways to a police which uses forensic methods to investigate cases, a police which respects human rights.
Tinubu’s NSA’s body language is more political than strategic. The man seems happiest when at the many events with the President. It seems we have an ubiquitous NSA on our hands.
The DSS under Tinubu exchanged blows to keep their prized possession, the former CBN Governor in its custody, contrary to the ruling of the judge. The same agency has kept the former EFCC chairman for months without charging him to court or giving Nigerians an inkling to the man’s crimes. I actually have no tears for the former EFCC chairman he also ran the anti- graftvagency like it was above the law. He ignored people like us who shouted and practically begged him to uphold the rule of law even in his ‘patriotic fevour’ to rid Nigeria of yahoo boys and corrupt leaders. Today, the tables have tuned against him, and he probably can now see that a lawless system makes a victim of even the highest and the most mighty, when it turns against you.

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