Some stakeholders in Abuja have advocated for the review of existing legislation and policies related to compulsory treatment and care for gunshot victims.
They made the call at the end of the 16-day campaign against gender-based violence, and the inauguration of a campaign and advocacy sticker for gunshot victims.
The event was organised by the West African Action Network on Small Arms, the First Regional Vice President Office, and the Osun State chapter of the National Youth Council of Nigeria.
National President, Foreign Correspondents Association of Nigeria, Medina Nadabo, said the challenges gunshot victims face in accessing health care and treatment were enormous.
“The government should review existing legislation and policies related to compulsory treatment and care for victims of gunshots. This should be done in consultation with human rights organisations, medical professionals, and other stakeholders to ensure that the rights of individuals are protected while addressing urgent medical needs,” he said.
Mr Nadabo said there was a need to strengthen the healthcare system. Investment in healthcare infrastructure, personnel and resources is essential to ensuring that victims of gunshots receive prompt and efficient medical care.
Regional Vice President, WAANSA, Igwe Nnamdi, said that the proliferation of illegal small arms and light weapons had increased criminality and armed violence in the country.
He stated, “We appeal to President Bola Tinubu in the spirit and compliance of International Human Rights Day to declare an awareness day to amplify the voices of Nigerians on their right to compulsory treatment without a police report.”
Director General, National Youth Service Corps, Brig.-Gen. Yusha’u Ahmed, said the event would enlighten medical personnel and the general public on the compulsory treatment and care of gunshot victims.
Mr Ahmed, represented by the Acting Director of Legal Services, Chris Ogar, said: “This is a strategic move that would foster a quicker response to such victims as well as create less tension for their families. Experts are aware that gunshot injuries often require specialised care and equipment. Without these facilities, patients are at risk of death or disability. This calls for the need for more awareness in compliance with the provisions of the compulsory Treatment and Care for Victims with Gunshot Act, 2017.”
President, WAANSA Nigeria, Temitope Lamidi, advocated for the prosecution and shutdown of any medical facility that refuses to treat a gunshot victim as well as compensation for the victims’ families.