MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Frank Oshanugor
The Crime Victims Foundation of Nigeria (CRIVIFON) has commended members of the Rivers and Lagos States House of Assembly for the recent domestication of the “Treatment of Gunshot Victims Act 2018.”
While Rivers State was the first state to domesticate the Act through its “Compulsory Treatment and Care of Victims of Gunshot Law” which was assented to, by Governor Nyesom Wike on September 15, 2022, Lagos State House of Assembly, last week passed the “Victims Witness Protection Bill.”
In a statement issued at the weekend by the Executive Director of the Foundation, Barr.(Mrs) Gloria Egbuji, CRIVIFON said it was gladdening that Lagos could quickly follow suit as the second state to domesticate the Gunshot Victims Act with additional benefits to indigent victims and doctors.
CRIVIFON which has been at the forefront of the struggle to get legislative backing for the treatment of gunshot and accident victims over the years, strongly commended the Rivers and Lagos State Governments for their “proper advancement of human rights and victims support with the hope that other states Houses of Assembly will follow the same steps to mitigate the adverse effects of criminality on innocent Nigerians.
The Foundation further stated that the timely passage of the Bill clearly showed that the Lagos State Government was sensitive to the challenges facing gunshot and accident victims, adding that the passage of the Bill into Law would greatly reduce the encumbrances in the treatment of gunshot and accident victims by both the public and private hospitals.
With the passage of the Bill, CRIVIFON has therefore urged Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to speedily give his assent to it to enable it effectively become actionable Law that would regulate the treatment of gunshot and accident victims in the state.
The statement added that authorities of CRIVIFON were exceptionally happy with the development as the enactment of the Law by the Lagos lawmakers would greatly reduce the incidence of gunshot and accident victims dying in the State due to the refusal of the hospitals to treat them.
The State House of Assembly had passed the Bill to protect witnesses and victims in the state. The Bill is for a Law to provide for the rights and entitlement of victims and protection of witnesses and for connected purposes.”
The Bill further stipulates “provision of assistance and protection to victims and witnesses who have vital information that could help ensure effective protection of cases but who face intimidation due to their cooperation with the prosecution or law enforcement agencies.”
It would be recalled that CRIVIFON has been at the vanguard of seeking for a law to protect victims of gunshot and accident in Nigeria from being refused treatment due to non-submission of police report at the time of admission.
In spite of efforts by police authorities and the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) over the years, to intervene on behalf of gunshot and accidents victims in the hospitals, many of the hospitals both public and private had refused to attend to the victims, without police, thereby leading to the untimely death of many.