By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
Information filtering in from Kuje Correctional facility indicates that AbdulRasheed Maina, former Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team has embarked on indefinite hunger strike to protest the refusal of the leadership of correctional centre to comply with doctors’ directives to allow him full medical/surgical services.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Secretary General,
West African Coalition for Social & Civil Rights, Comrade Patrick Akinfemi, made available to our correspondent on Monday September 19, 2022.
“If the public may recall, Mr. Maina has been diagnosed with life threatening ailments that require series of surgeries and routine visits to hospital.
“Several SOS letters were written to the Controller General, by Doctors Folorunsho, Dahilo and Ojji,
all senior consultants at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, emphasizing the urgency of the situation, but the directives and advises were ignored,” the statement said.
It further informed that investigations also revealed that four Controllers of Correctional Service, who happened to be doctors also wrote to the CGs office on the urgency of the situation, but he directed Maina’s lawyers to meet with the staff at the headquarters of the correctional service, where Deputy Controller Generals and other high ranking officers said that they know that Maina’s situation is critical, but that, their hands were tight.
“This situation suggests that there may be a sinister plot being hatched by some yet to be identified personalities from outside in collaboration with some mischievous elements from within, to ensure his health deteriorates irredeemably to the point of death.
“Also on record, was the recent attempts allegedly to get him poisoned, when his drink was laced with poisonous substances from yet to be identified sources within the facility,” it added.
The statement said that no inmate should be held under this kind of near death situation, no inmate should be denied access to doctors and good medical facility since the KUJE Correctional facility does not have an equipped hospital to take care of his numerous illnesses.
“The United Nations Human Rights General Assembly resolution 45/111 no(9) States that “Inmates, shall have access to the health services available in the country without discrimination on the grounds of their legal situation” Rule 27 of the United Nations Human Rights also states
thus; “Inmates shall have prompt access to medical attention in urgent cases. Inmates who require specialized treatment or surgery shall be transferred to specialized institutions or to civil hospitals.
“Where a Correctional facility has its own hospital facilities, they shall be adequately staffed and adequately equipped to provide inmates referred to them with appropriate treatment and care” Article 6 on the right to life also states that every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived (Like in this case) of his life. This is a universal instrument that is binding on all Nations including Nigeria.
“So it is therefore, illegal, inhuman and utterly despicable to keep denying an ailing inmate proper medical care and especially surgical attention.
“A staff of the correctional service who claimed anonymity, said that he saw Mr. Maina during the week, looking frail and sick because he has not been eating.
“Food brought by his sister was left outside, he has also refused to even take his drugs. The tumour which was growing other roots has reached his brain as blood continuously gushes out of his left ear, according to privileged medical sources.
“Efforts to speak to the officer in charge of the facility proved abortive as the staff at the gate refused our staff access to the facility to see him,” it informed.
The group added that these ugly developments are being watched with keen interest by various civil society organizations and human rights bodies and activists both within and without.
“Maina deserves all his constitutional rights to medical care unconditionally,” it added.
The group called on other inmates that are also deprived of these rights, saying, even though they learnt that currently some inmates carrying capital punishment are being attended to on the basis of “who you know.”
It further said that credible sources also revealed that even apprehended escapees who sustained various degrees of injuries were rushed to hospital for treatment.
“Maina had all the opportunity to escape like others from the facility when it was attacked, but chose to remain and see to the end of his case.
“Any further waste of time in not granting him the urgently needed surgeries as indicated in the various letters from the Consulting Surgeons, will be met with stiff resistance from across the nation.
“We are therefore, calling on the Minister of Interior and Minister of Health to immediately direct the Leadership of the correctional Service to heed to the advice of the Doctors and ensure that Mr Maina is taken to the hospital urgently to access the surgical procedures he needs at this time, otherwise we would be left with no option than match to the National Assembly and the Ministry of interior to ensure our demands which is a fundamental right are met.”