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
32,791 Cases Pending At Rivers Courts, CJ Reveals
About 32,791 cases instituted in 2018 are said to be pending in various courts in Rivers State.
The state Chief Judge, Justice Adanma Inyie Iyayi-Lamikanra disclosed this while speaking at the special court session held at the state Judiciary auditorium to herald the opening of the 2019/2020 legal year in Port Harcourt, last Friday.
The state chief judge while giving the breakdown of the cases said, the 32,791 cases pending were among the 46,618 cases received from the October 31, 2018 to November 8, 2019, adding that a total of 13,827 cases were filed, while 10,562 cases were disposed.
Iyayi-Lamikanra added that a total of 44,457 cases were brought forward from the 2018/2019 legal year within the period under review.
She also disclosed that out of the number, the magistrate courts received the highest with 38,460 cases, high courts got 13,483, Customary Court of Appeal 1,233, customary courts 3,011, juvenile 1,233, and sanitation court got 1,680 while revenue court has the lowest recorded cases of 70 within the period under review.
Iyayi-Lamikanra also revealed that the state Judiciary generated a total sum of N379,838,535,75 from all the courts, including the customary courts within the period under review, adding that the figure represents 47 per cent increase from last year which, she said, was remarkable.
She described the legal year’s special court session as an annual ritual in the legal profession that provides for critique and stock-staking of the activities of the preceding year, with a view to improving on the administration of justice across the state by key players and critical actors in the legal profession.
“This annual ritual provides for stock-taking and examinations for the last legal year for the administration of justice in the state.
“We have set up Judiciary Information Technology Committee policy in compliance with the directive by the National Judicial Commission (NJC),” she stated.
She used the opportunity to thank the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike for the financial support given to the state Judiciary as well as provision of vehicles to both judges and magistrates in the state.
Also speaking, the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Dr Adangor urged judges and magistrates to dispense justice without favour and fear, adding that both the rich and the poor deserve equal justice, even as he commended the state chief executive for approving and releasing funds to clear the arrears of allowances owed lawyers at the state Ministry of Justice since 2008.
In his contribution, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), O.C.J. Okocha, who spoke for members of senior bar in the state, called for total independence of the Judicial arm of government, and recommended that each state should be allowed to determine the number of judges to be appointed.
NSCDC Convicts 76 In Rivers
The National Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Rivers State says it has convicted not fewer than 76 persons in the past four years.
The figures were made public by the Public Relations Officer of the corps in the state, Akin Oguntuase in a chat with The Tide, in Port Harcourt.
Oguntuase said over a thousand cases had been reported in the past years, but that those convicted were now serving different prison terms.
He explained that, “prosecution is different from conviction, and I can assure you that we have recorded huge success in the past five years in checking pipeline vandalism”.
Oguntuase said among the states in the federation Rivers State has the highest number of oil installation vandalisation and bunkering issues.
He, however, disclosed that matters relating to vandalisation of power facilities, and other government properties are low except few cases of rail line vandalisation.
Commenting on the killing of two of its men at Alakiri Flow Station, penultimate week, Oguntuase stated that investigations have commenced on the matter.
He decried the incessant attacks on its men, especially those protecting oil facilities, stating that new measures are evolved to reduce fatalities.
The Rivers State Civil Defense spokesman nonetheless dismissed claims by some members of the public that its men were compromising and allowing illegal refined products into the state.
He said, “As far as I am concerned, none of our men has been caught in such act, because once we get such matter, such officer will face the music, and maybe dismissed if found guilty.”
N16.4m Fraud: Court Discharges Ex-IGP, CP
Justice Silvanus Oriji of the FCT High Court, Apo, yesterday discharged former Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Sunday Ehindero, and Commissioner of Police, Budget, John Obaniyi, of N16.4 million fraud charge.
Ehindero and Obaniyi, a Commissioner of Police in charge of finance and budget at the Force headquarters, were arraigned on May 10, 2018, by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) .
Delivering judgment, Justice Oriji held that the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against the defendants and failed to prove that they converted the said interest generated to their personal use.
According to the judge, the investigation officer, a prosecution witness, did not discredit the claim of the defendants that the interest generated from N500 million deposited in fixed deposit accounts was used for operational purposes.
“I therefore uphold the defendants’ no case submission.The defendants are hereby discharged,” he said.
At the close of the prosecution’s case, the Counsel to Ehindero, Kelvin Omoraw, and Samuel Odariko, representing Obaniyi, had filed a no-case submission.
The ICPC had accused the former IGP and Obaniyi of misappropriating the sum of N557 million donated by the Bayelsa Government to the Nigerian Police Force for purchase arms and ammunition.
The prosecution alleged that the two defendants used their positions to divert N500 million out of the N557 million into separate fixed deposit accounts belonging to them.
The N500million placed in fixed deposits, according to the anti-corruption commission, yielded N16.4 million interest, which they were accused of converting to personal use.
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