A bill for a law to provide for the Compulsory Treatment and Care of Victims of Gunshot in Delta State has passed through secondary reading on the floor of the State House of Assembly.
The 16-sections proposed law has the member representing Ughelli North One Constituency, Hon Charles Onyiyere as the lead sponsor with 15 others.
Leading debates on the merits of the bill at plenary presided over by the deputy speaker, Ochor Christopher Ochor, the lead sponsor and member representing Ughelli North 1 Constituency, Hon Charles Oniyere, said the proposed law is purely aimed at saving lives.
Hon Onyiyere explained that the bill seeks to make it mandatory for hospitals to receive and treat gunshot victims without questioning or asking for initial deposits and report to the nearest police station after commencing treatment.
The lawmaker emphasized that it is wrong to term anybody with gunshot wounds a criminal, saying that there is need for first-aid attention and other necessary assistance to the victim and then proper investigation.
Hon Onyiyere stated that the proposed law also provides that anyone who assists the victim should not be embarrassed or punished.
“The bill is for compulsory treatment of victims with gunshot. It is a straight forward bill. It is to save lives. You cannot term anybody with gunshot wounds as criminal. The bill is to make it compulsory to treat victims of gunshot and to render necessary assistance to victims. Anyone who assists a victim should not be punished for rendering such humanitarian service and support”, Onyiyere stated.
In their contributions to the merits of the bill, deputy majority leader, Hon Oboro Preyor, deputy chief whip, Solomon lghrakpata, member representing Ika North East, Hon Anthony Elekeokwuri and Aniocha South, Hon Austin Chikezie, described the proposed law as apt, timely and in line with constitutional provisions.
The deputy majority leader, Oboro Preyor, pointed out that the security and welfare of citizens are the primary responsibilities of government, stressing the need for compulsory treatment of gunshot victims without any delay.
“Security and welfare of citizens are constitutional responsibilities of government. The bill is to make it mandatory for hospitals to treat gunshot victims immediately without any delay.
Human life is sacrosanct as no one can create life”, Preyor emphasized.
Explaining that the law is being domesticated in Delta State as it had already been enacted at the federal level, the deputy chief whip, Solomon Ighrakpata, said many victims have died while waiting for police report before treatment of victims with gun shots.
“This bill had been passed at the national level, it is just being domesticated in Delta State. Many have died while waiting for police report before treatment and other negligence of victims with gunshot wounds. This bill is aimed at addressing such ugly circumstances”, Ighrakpata stressed.
The Ika North East representative, Anthony Elekeokwuri on his part, said the bill means no harm, noting that the proposed law also provides that anyone who volunteered to assist victims with gunshot wounds should be treated with respect and not subjected to unnecessary and embarrassing interrogation in their genuine attempt to save lives.
“This bill means no harm. It is timely and apt. The purpose is to enhance good governance in Delta State. Any volunteer to assist victim of gunshot should be treated with respect and not be subjected to unnecessary interrogation and embarrassment”.
Emphasizing the many merits of the bill as highlighted by the lead sponsor, the member representing Aniocha South, Hon Austin Chikezie said it is expedient for hospitals that receive any person with gunshot wound to commence treatment and then notify security agencies and relatives within 24 hours of becoming aware of the victim’s identify.
The bill enjoyed the unanimous support of the lawmakers.
Deputy Speaker, Ochor Christopher Ochor, subsequently referred the bill to the House Committee on Rules, Business and Judicial matters for further legislative actions.