By Chris Ochayi
ABUJAâ€”Following allegation of denial of medical attention to late Deputy Political Editor, The Guardian newspapers, Mr. Bayo Ohu by a Lagos based hospital, which led to his bleeding to death from injuries sustained from gunshots fired at him by armed bandits at his residence a fortnight ago, the police authorities haveÂ asked medical practitioners to henceforth, treat accidents and gunshot victims with or without policemen accompanying them.
Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Ogbonna Okechukwu Onovo who stated this in a statement yesterday, however, denied that police have ever restrain medical doctors from attending to the needs of accidents and gunshot victims in the country.
Mr. Onovo who spoke through the Force Public Relations Office, Mr. Emmanuel Ojukwu in the statement, said, his attention â€œhas once again been drawn to the controversy concerning alleged police denial of medical treatment to accident victims or persons with gun-shot injuriesâ€.
According to him, â€œat no time did police restrain medical doctors from attending to the needs of these needy victimsâ€. â€œIndeed, the police had on several occasions called on medical practitioners to treat accident victims and persons with gunshot wounds, whether such persons are accompanied by policemen or notâ€, he said.
Mr. Onovo noted that, â€œit will be recalled that in February, 2009, the same position was made clear in the presence of the visiting Hon. Minister of Health, Professor Babatunde Oshotimehin during which the Inspector General of Police emphasised safety of life as a major duty of the policeâ€.
He added further, â€œit is imperative to stress here that the mandate of the Nigeria police is to promote civil liberties and rights as enshrined in the 1999 constitution, chief of which is the right to life. The police cannot be promoting right to life and at the same time be denying treatment to those whose lives are threatened by accidental injury or gunshot woundsâ€.
â€œDoctors and other medical practitioners have a primary duty to save lives. All that the Nigeria police force asks of them is to first do their duties, and immediately thereafter inform the nearest police station/formation of the presence of such wounded persons, as the police may find reason to inquire into the circumstances surrounding the injuries or gunshotâ€.