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New Law Compels Treatment of Gunshot Victims Without Police Permit, Deposit

Muhammadu Buhari on Friday gave his assent to a bill earlier passed by the National Assembly in July compelling medical doctors and other health workers to treat gunshot victims without insisting on monetary deposit or a police permit.

The law known as the Compulsory Treatment and Care for Victims of Gunshot Act, 2017 was one of six bills signed into law by the president on Friday.

Others are the Anti-Torture Act 2017; Niger Delta Development Commission (Establishment) Amendment Act, 2017; Federal Capital Appropriation Act, 2017; the Federal Capital Territory Water Board (Establishment) Act 2017; the National Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment (Establishment) Act 2017.

Speaking on the importance of the Compulsory Treatment and Care for Victims of Gunshot Act, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Mr Ita Enang, told newsmen that the Act specifically stipulates that a person with gunshot shall be received for immediate and adequate treatment by any hospital in Nigeria with or without initial monetary deposit.

“Furthermore, a person with 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 ,” Enang added.

With the passage of the law, Nigerians may now validly challenge the refusal of some medical facilities to attend to gunshot victims without a police permit or enough funds to make a deposit for their treatment, usually leading to avoidable death.

The medical facilities will similarly be spared the harassment of security operatives who have been many times reported to have accused medical personnel of collaborating with armed robbers and other suspected criminals for treating gunshot injuries without demanding a police report.

Concerning the other bills signed into law, Enang said the NDDC Act has included the gas producing and gas processing companies in the list of agencies contributing to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), in addition to oil companies, in order to increase funds available to the commission for effective discharge of its duties.

According to The Nation, the presidential aide expressed the belief that the amendment to the NDDC Act would enhance the well-being of the largely underdeveloped oil region .

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