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CRIVIFON hails Rivers, Lagos for domesticating gunshot victims law

By Innocent Anoruo
04 October 2022   |   3:05 am
Crime Victims Foundation of Nigeria (CRIVIFON) has commended the Rivers and Lagos governments for the recent domestication of the “Treatment of Gunshot Victims Act 2018.”

[FILES] Gunshot victim

Crime Victims Foundation of Nigeria (CRIVIFON) has commended the Rivers and Lagos governments for the recent domestication of the “Treatment of Gunshot Victims Act 2018.”

While Rivers was the first state to domesticate the legislation through its ‘Compulsory Treatment and Care of Victims of Gunshot Law’ assented to by Governor Nyesom Wike on September 15, 2022, Lagos Assembly, last week, passed the ‘Victims Witness Protection Bill.’

In a statement by its Executive Director, Mrs. Gloria Egbuji, CRIVIFON said it was gladdening that Lagos could quickly follow suit as the second state to domesticate the law with additional benefits to indigent victims and doctors.

The foundation, which has been at the forefront of the struggle with its partners in Rivers to get legislative backing for the treatment of gunshot and accident victims over the years, lauded the two state governments for their “proper advancement of human rights and victims support with the hope that other Houses of Assembly will toe the same path to mitigate the adverse effect of criminality on innocent Nigerians.”

It stated that the timely passage of the bill clearly showed that the Lagos government was sensitive to the challenges facing gunshot and accident victims, adding that the move would greatly reduce encumbrances in the treatment of gunshot and accident victims by both public and private hospitals.

CRIVIFON, therefore, urged Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to speedily give his assent.

The statement added that authorities at the foundation were happy with the development, as the enactment would greatly reduce fatalities due to the refusal of hospitals to treat victims without police approval.

The bill is for a law to provide for the rights and entitlement of victims and protection of witnesses and related purposes.

The proposed piece of legislation 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.”

CRIVIFON has been at the vanguard of seeking a law to protect victims of gunshots and accidents in Nigeria from being refused treatment due to non-submission of the police reports at the time of admission.

Despite 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 authorisation, thereby leading to the untimely death of many.