The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, has commended President Muhammad Buhari for signing into law the Bill for Compulsory Treatment and Care for Victims of Gunshot.
The commission noted that it is a step in a right direction because the legislation would address the unnecessary discrimination that often results in needless loss of lives in hospitals across the nation.
The Acting Executive Secretary of the Commission, Oti Ovrawah, who made this commendation in Abuja, said that the Bill has long been awaited.
Mrs Ovrawah therefore called on the relevant authorities including hospital management and staff, law enforcement agencies and the general public to ensure that the new law is effectively implemented to guard against further loss of lives as a result of gunshot injuries.
“The law prohibits hospital authorities or staff from demanding initial deposit of money before treatment, from any person that brings gunshot victims to hospital or any form of discrimination/ill-treatment including the demand for police report,” she pointed out.
It could be recalled that President Buhari gave his ssented to the bill last December.
Explaining on the bill, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang, said the president said the Act stipulates that a person with a gunshot wound shall be received for immediate and adequate treatment by any hospital in Nigeria with or without initial monetary deposit.
He also said a person with a gunshot wound shall not be subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment or torture by any person or authority, including the police and other security agencies.
In the same vein, he said Anti-Torture Act, 2017 prohibits acts of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, prescribing penalties for perpetrators of such acts.
Furthermore, Mr Enang said the President assented to the Niger Delta Development Commission (Establishment) Amendment Act, 2017.
“The Act includes the gas producing and gas processing companies in the list of agencies that are contributing to the Niger Delta Development Commission in addition to the oil companies in a bid to increase funding of the Commission for effective discharge of its duties.
“Previously, the NDDC Acts excluded the gas companies. The Act makes it explicit that the gas companies have to be included. This is to diversify the sources of funding for the NDDC for the economic wellbeing of the region,” he explained.
Mr Enang said the President also signed Federal Capital Appropriation Bill which he said authorises the Federal Capital Territory Administration to legally and legitimately provide funds out of its Statutory Revenue Fund for recurrent and capital expenditure.