Healthcare professionals and law enforcement officers in Nigeria have expressed support for a recent directive by the Inspector General of Police, IGP Olukayode Egbetokun, that instructs hospitals to provide treatment to gunshot victims without requiring a police report.
The Significance of this Directive
- Health professionals and police officers believe this directive will help save the lives of innocent gunshot victims by enabling them to receive prompt medical care.
- Hesitation by healthcare workers to treat gunshot victims previously stemmed from the fear of potential legal issues and police interrogations.
- In 2017, the Gunshot Act was signed into law, mandating all medical facilities to provide immediate treatment to gunshot victims without the need for a police report.
- The Act not only requires immediate and adequate treatment but also assistance from security agencies.
- It prohibits inhumane or degrading treatment of gunshot victims and establishes the duty of hospitals to notify the police and the victim’s family.
- Hospitals were often reluctant to adhere to these provisions due to concerns over potential police investigations.
- The directive addresses this issue and prioritizes saving lives before addressing legal matters.
Implications and Response
- The police now have a clear mandate to enforce the Gunshot Act of 2017, ensuring that hospitals provide life-saving care to gunshot victims without delay.
- However, the directive highlights the need for clarification on issues such as who will bear the costs of treatment, especially in private hospitals.
- The security implications of the directive are that innocent lives will be saved, and hospitals will not face legal consequences for treating gunshot victims.
- Health experts suggest that the directive should be accompanied by public awareness campaigns and efforts to educate healthcare personnel about the law.
- The directive aims to eliminate the blame game between the police and hospitals and ensure that victims receive timely and necessary medical care.
- Hospitals can now provide treatment without fear of potential repercussions, given the legal backing of the Gunshot Act of 2017.
The new directive aligns with the fundamental right to life and the government’s obligation to ensure the security and welfare of its citizens, as outlined in the Nigerian Constitution. Police enforcement and awareness campaigns will help implement the law effectively and save numerous lives by providing timely medical care to gunshot victims.