The Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Section on Public Interest and Development Law (SPIDEL) has said that it will use the case of the death of Mr Stephen Enyinnaya Eke, a member of NBA Nyanya-Karu assassinated but was rejected by some hospitals which could have saved his life, to set an example for other defaulting hospitals.
According to a press statement on Sunday signed by Dr Monday Ubani, NBA-SPIDEL Chairman, the organisation noted that its attention has been drawn to the story of its colleague, Mr Stephen Enyinnaya Eze of Nyanya-Karu Nba Branch who was assassinated recently in Abuja in the presence of some of his family members.
“He was said to have been rushed to several hospitals in Abuja while still breathing but was rejected by the medical officers on duty on account of the fact that was carrying bullet wounds.
“We are aware that Nigeria has an Act( Compulsory Treatment And Care for Victims of Gunshot Act, 2017) that outlaws the such evil practice of rejecting patients who are shot by any person including criminals in Nigeria.
The statement added, “We hereby condemn the killing by the criminals and demand a quick intervention by the security agencies to track and bring the killers to justice. We also strongly call out the various hospitals that refused, rejected and neglected to treat the victim when he was still alive, citing gun shot wounds as a reason.
“This rejection to treat is not only criminal and callous but a clear breach of the ethics of the medical profession that mandates the medical personnel to save lives first irrespective of the condition of the patient with gunshot wounds.
“We as an NBA Section regard this as a monumental professional failure on the part of the hospitals and their doctors, and we promise to use this case as a test case to teach the hospitals and their personnel a good lesson that we have laws governing victims that sustain bullet wounds in Nigeria.
“The law prescribes that they should be admitted and treated first with a subsequent report made available to the security agencies.
“Having failed to uphold the law and acting contrarily, which led to the untimely death of the Late Mr Stephen Eke, we will faithfully hold those hospitals accountable to the law.
“We are hereby requesting the Nyanya-Karu Branch of the NBA where Mr Late Eze belonged to supply NBA-SPIDEL with the names and addresses of the various hospitals that refused to treat Mr Late Eke when he was rushed to them for treatment.
“We promise to immediately commence both criminal and civil proceedings against them on behalf of the Nigerian Bar Association.
“We are prepared as a body to stop the wanton wastage of lives in Nigeria especially lives that can be saved by those in a position to do so.
“This latest death of Mr Late Eke is one too many. We are also aware that a colleague, one Mr Nathan Akatakpo in Port Harcourt was also assassinated within the week after the killers may have snuffed the life out of his client a day before his death. It is sad and disheartening that Port Harcourt in Rivers State is now becoming notorious for criminalities perpetrated against Legal Practitioners. In the last 3 years or so, many lawyers have either been kidnapped or killed senselessly within that environment.
“We condemn the killings and urge the State and Federal Government to ensure that the killers of our colleagues be brought to book expeditiously.
“Finally we urge drastic action from all major stakeholders to halt these wanton killings of lawyers who are just performing their professional duties and do not deserve to be killed as is the case presently. Enough is enough,” the statement further read.