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A Child’s Right To Life

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The right to live is a universally recognized right for all human beings. It is a fundamental right which governs all existing rights. In the absence of the right to life, all other fundamental rights have no reason to exist. For children, the right to life is the chance to be able to live and have the possibility to grow, to develop and become adults from birth, all children have the right to have their life protected. As provided for under the children and young persons’ law. The right of a child to life against the right of his parents to veto such right in vindication of their religious conscience, the overriding consideration should be, the best interest of the child.
In Esabunor and Anor V. Faweya and Ors (2019) LPELR 46961 (SC), the 2nd appellant who is the mother of the 1st appellant gave birth to him on April 19, 1997 at the Chevron clinic, Lekki Peninsula in Lagos. Within a month of his birth, he fell gravely ill. He was taken back to the clincic by his mother for urgent treatment. The 1st respondent treated the 1st appellant, and discovered that the 1st appellant needed urged blood transfusion. The mother of the child and her husband made it abundantly clear on no account should their child be given a blood transfusion. Their reason being that there were several lazards that follow blood transfusion such as contracting Aids, Hapatis etc and as members of the Jehovah Witness sect; blood transfusion was forbidden by their religion
Dr Tunde Faweya (the 1st respondent) remained unyielding. The next day the learned counsel for the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State moved an originating Motion Exparte before the 5th respondent. The motion was brought under section 27(1) and (30) of the children and young person’s law Cap 25 of Lagos State the relief sought was “that the medical authorities of the clinic of Chevron Nigeria Limited Lekki Peninsulas Lagos be allowed and are hereby permitted to do all and anything necessary, for the protection of the life and health of the child Tega Esabunor and for such further order or orders as the court may deem fit to make in the circumstances”.
The Chief Magistrate granted the application and the 1st respondent administered blood transfusion on the 1st appellant and he got well and was discharged. The 2nd appellant fited an application on notice wherein she sought for the setting aside of the order. The said application was unsuccessful. Dissatisfied with the proceedings before the Chief Magistrate, they approached the high court for an order of certiorari and damages of N10 million. The learned trial judge refused their prayers and claims. On appeal to the Court of Appeal the decision of the High Court was affirmed.
On further appeal to the Supreme Court the Supreme Court held that an adult who is conscious and in full control of his mental capacity and of sound mind has the right to either accept or refuse blood. The hospital has no choice but to respect their patient’s choice. When it involves a child the court stated that a child is incapable of making decisions for himself and the law is duty bound to protect such a person from abuse of his rights as he may grow up and disregard those religious beliefs. It makes no difference if the decision to deny him blood transfusion is made by his parents. See M. D P.D.T.V Okankwo (2001) 7NWLR (pt 711) P. 206. The Supreme Court held that when a competent parent or one in loco parentis refuses blood transfusion on religious ground, the court should step in, consider the baby’s welfare i.e saving the life and the best interest of the child, before a decision is taken. These considerations according to the court outweigh religious beliefs of the Jehovah Witness sect. The decision should be to allow blood transfusion especially in life threatening situations.

 

Nkechi Bright Ewere

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Law/Judiciary

Police Arraign Two Over Cultism, Breach Of Peace

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Two men, were yesterday brought before a Yaba Chief Magistrates’ Court in Lagos for allegedly belonging to an unlawful society and causing breach of peace in their neighbourhood.
The defendants; Donald Benjamin, 24, and Matthew Nwafor, 23, are facing a three-count charge of conspiracy, breach of peace and belonging to an unlawful society.
The duo, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The Police prosecutor, Sgt. Modupe Olaluwoye, told the court that the defendants committed the offences at about 2 a.m., on January 1, at Owode-Ibeshe area of Ikorodu, Lagos.
According to her, the defendants, who were members of a secret society known as “Aiye” celebrated New Year’s Day by scattering the shops in neighbourhood, setting up burn-fires and using matchetes to chase people away from the area.
She said that during the chaos, the defendants and their accomplices still at large were also throwing fireworks at people and on their houses.
“The two defendants had thrown fireworks (Knockout) on a man who then fell into a gutter while trying to run away from it.
“The man was one of the many people that got injured that morning and he alerted the police on the activities of the  cultists in the area,” Olaluwoye said.
According to her, the  offences contravened Sections 41, 168 (d) and 411 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2015 (Revised).
Our source reports that section 41 prescribes three years imprisonment for the offence of belonging to an unlawful society, while Section 411 provides two-year for conspiracy.
The Magistrate, Mrs Oluwatoyin Oghre, granted bail in the sum of N 50,000 each to the duo, with one surety each in the like sum.
Oghre said that the sureties must be gainfully employed and show evidence of three years tax payment to the Lagos State Government.
She adjourned the case until June 2 for mention.

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FRSC Moves To Prosecute Traffic Offenders In Badagry

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The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Badagry Command, says a mobile court will sit today in Badagry to try road traffic offenders before a Magistrate Court.
The FRSC’s Unit Commander, Mr Babatope Agbaje, made this known when he and his team visited the Chairman of Badagry Local Government, Mr Olusegun Onilude.
According to Agbaje, erring offenders arrested by officials of the corps will face an on-the-spot sanction by the magistrate court as stipulated by the extant traffic rules and regulations.
He called for the cooperation of all stakeholders including traditional rulers in and around Badagry, road transport unions members, security agencies and other relevant bodies.
Responding, Onilude commended the untiring efforts of the command and the corps in general at saving lives and property on the roads.
He reassured the corps of the cooperation of people of Badagry and their readiness to continually obey traffic rules.
He warned that any motorist caught contravening traffic laws would have a fair trial at the court to serve as deterrent to others.
Onilude also advised men of the command not to be overzealous in the discharge of their duties, urging the general public to support FRSC’s fight against road traffic crashes on Nigeria Roads.

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Cleaner In Court For Killing Three-Year-Old Baby

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A prosecution witness, Insp. David Abu, has told a High Court in Lagos that a former cleaner of a nursery school, Rukayat Amisu, negligently sat a three-year-old on the edge of a container filled with hot water while feeding her.
Testifying, during cross-examination by the defendant’s counsel, R.A. Babatunde, Abu, alleged that the defendant was not happy when the proprietor asked her to feed the child.
The witness also said the defendant made no attempt to rescue the child when she fell inside the container containing the hot water.
However, the witness did not give any definite answer when asked if the defendant was aware that container was filled with hot water, since she was a cleaner and not one of the kitchen attendants.
After listening to the testimony, Justice Adedayo Akintoye, adjourned the case untill March 10 for continuation of trial.
Our legal source reports that Amisu, was on March 4, 2019 charged with manslaughter.
She pleaded not guilty and was remanded in prison.
Earlier, the Lagos State Prosecution counsel, Mr Babatunde Sunmonu, told the court that the defendant committed the alleged offence on October 21, 2015, at 10am at Olab Private School, at No. 11, Idowu St., Lagos Island.
He said that the defendant unlawfully killed one three-year-old Aliyah Ahmed by negligently allowing her to be burnt by hot water.
He said the defendant negligently sat the little girl on top of a container containing hot water, while feeding her.
He said the girl fell inside the hot water.
According to him, the offence contravened the provisions of Section 227 of the Criminal Law Lagos State, 2011.

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