The Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokunhas ordered police formations across Nigeria to enforce the Compulsory Treatment and Care of Victims of Gun Shooting Act 2017.
The new directive responds to widespread concern over the growing loss of life due to the refusal of health facilities to provide treatment to victims of gunshots and accidents without a police report.
It is also a reaction to a letter addressed to Mr Egbetokun and personally signed by the Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare, Olatunji Alausa, requesting the support of the police in enforcing the law.
Egbetokun gave the directive on October 25 in an internal memorandum signed by his principal staff officer, Olatunji Disu, and addressed to all ranks of the country’s police leadership.
The memo, referenced: CB:3383/IGP.SEC/ABJ/VOL.60/336, urged police formations to widely disseminate the directives “so that the public is aware of our compliance with national law.” .
The letter reads in part: “I attach a copy of the letter HMSH&SW/IG/CTCV/10/2023/ dated October 3, 2023 received from the Federal Ministry of Health and Welfare on the subject underlined above, and write to convey the directive. of the Inspector General of Police to comply with and enforce the provisions of the Compulsory Treatment and Care for Victims of Gun Shooting Act, 2017 without any hesitation.”
The memo further directed police leaders to make the contents of the memo a “sermon topic” among their formations and commands.
The Shooting Act 2017, signed into law by former President Muhammadu Buhari, requires all medical facilities to receive and accept shooting victims for immediate treatment without a police report.
Request for police reports.
Many Nigerians have died due to the refusal of health facilities to provide treatment to patients with gunshot or stab wounds without a police report.
Recently, Newslodge reported how Greatness Olorunfemi, a victim of notorious ‘one shot’ operators in Abuja, tragically died at the Maitama General Hospital where he was allegedly denied treatment for failing to file a police report.
On October 14, a police officer from the Sango-Ota divisional police station also suffered the same fate after being attacked and shot by armed robbers at his residence.
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Former Nigerian Senate President Bukola Saraki has called for a thorough investigation into Olorunfemi’s death, reiterating the importance of the shooting.
Reacting to this, the IGP in a statement on Saturday called on all doctors in Nigeria to provide prompt treatment to all shooting and accident victims, regardless of whether police reports are provided or not.
The statement was signed by the Police Force PRO, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, noting that “the decision of the IGP comes in response to the incessant outcry from concerned citizens and the community at large, highlighting the tragic consequences of delays in the treatment of these victims.”
Minister denounces low compliance
The Minister of State in the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Olatunji Alausa, had earlier written to the IGP seeking collaboration in ending “unnecessary deaths as a result of gunshot wounds from any cause.”
Mr. Alausa noted in the official letter of October 3 that compliance with the Shooting Law remains very low.
He noted that “the cause of low compliance may not be unconnected with a lack of awareness among field police officers and sympathizers who may fear being implicated for coming to the aid of these victims, especially in litigation.”
“Firearm injuries are generally a medical emergency, every minute counts in the fight to preserve the victim’s life. Therefore, a gunshot victim requires urgent medical attention to prevent permanent damage or death to the victim,” reads parts of the letter.
Alausa added that the practice of hospitals requiring police reports has no legal backing, “so police officers should provide the necessary support to assure health centers that the treatment of firearm injuries will not have consequences.” “legal.”
He said that in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the police can create awareness on the need to comply with the provision of the 2017 Act to reduce deaths of victims.
“I will kindly request that you re-distribute this important provision of the National Law to all police divisions across the country and also publish it in a paid advertisement in all relevant media outlets,” Mr Alausa requested.