The Inspector-General of Police Solomon Arase has issued a statement allowing hospitals to treat gunshot victims without “clearance” from the police.
For many years, anyone with gunshot wounds had to provide police clearance at hospital before receiving treatment. This barmy idea was seen as a means for arresting armed robbery suspects.
So in order to arrest suspects, every victim had to suffer delays to urgent treatment in order to get the clearance. Predictably, many died as a result. But no one in authority cared and the directive continued.
It is good to see that sanity has prevailed and the treatment of any gunshot victim, which should be the first priority of medical staff and not some bureaucratic nonsense, has rightly become paramount.
Why it took the police so long to recognise the folly of the old directive is anyone’s guess. It’s hard not to imagine that sanctity of human life has never been top priority for the Nigerian Police Force.
Well, better late than never and this is just what a doctor would prescribe.