MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Frank Oshanugor
The Crime Victims Foundation of Nigeria (CRIVIFON) has urged Nigerians from various walks of life to take the issue of victims of gunshot and accident seriously in line with the provisions of Compulsory Treatment and Care of Victims of Gunshots and Accidents Law.
The Foundation has also called for stiffer penalty for medical personnel or anyone convicted of breaching the Compulsory Treatment and Care of Victims of Gunshots and Accidents by way of preventing Victims from being treated prior to submission of police report.
In a press conference held at the Foundation’s corporate head office in Lagos on Wednesday, CRIVIFON’s Executive Director; Barr. (Mrs) Gloria Egbuji charged the media to actively participate in creating awareness in every nook and cranny on the need for hospitals and other medical facilities to treat gunshot and accident victims without subjecting them to submission of police report before treatment.
The Foundation noted that in spite of the fact that the Compulsory Treatment and Care of Victims of Gunshots and Accidents Act, 2017 became operative soon after it was assented to, by President Muhammadu Buhari in January, 2018 medical personnel in many hospitals were still refusing to treat victims of Gunshots and Accidents.
Citing example with recent cases of Ebenezer Ayeni, a gospel artiste who was shot on 10th June, 2021 but later died after the University College Hospital, Ibadan and another hospital had denied him treatment because of non-submission of police report and 32-year-old accountant, Odiri Onosigho who similarly died in Lagos on April 15, 2021 following refusal of medical personnel in a private hospital to treat him after he was shot by armed robbers in FESTAC area of Lagos.
According to Egbuji, it was quite inhuman, ungodly and against the Compulsory Treatment and Care of Victims of Gunshots Act for victims to be denied treatment and allowed to die carelessly as in the cases of Ayeni, Onosigho, Bayo Ohu of Guardian newspapers and many others.
Recalling the journey so far with respect to the treatment of gunshot victims, the CRIVIFON boss said her Foundation began the advocacy in 1998 in collaboration with some sections of the media and civil rights advocate.
She added that it was gratifying to note that the advocacy for a legislative instrument to make treatment of Gunshots Victims compulsory eventually came to light after about two decades
As only Rivers and Lagos States have come up with their own domesticated version of the Compulsory Treatment and Care of Victims of Gunshots and Accidents Law, 2017, CRIVIFON has enjoined other states to come up with their own domestication of the Act.
Since the 2017 Act is already undergoing debate for amendment by the National Assembly, CRIVIFON has enjoined the lawmakers to make provision for alternative settlement of hospital bill for indigent victims of Gunshots and Accidents.