The Delta State Chapter of the Committee of Defence for Human Rights (CDHR) has revealed that the management of Syracuse Clinic in Warri detained a ten-year-old gunshot victim, Master Prince Emeghene, over unpaid medical bills.
The CDHR Secretary in Delta State, Comrade Jonathan Giama, made this known in a statement issued to newsmen.
He claimed that the hospital management detained the child since June 2019 till date, adding that the action by the hospital was wicked and violated the child’s right, according to Chapter IV and Section 35 (1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended in Section 39 of the Child’s Right Act 2003 and Section 40 of the Delta State Child’s Rights law (s) in Nigeria.
CHDR insisted that the hospital did a good work by treating a child who sustained a bullet wound inflicted on him by a vigilante but appealed to the hospital management to allow the child to go home to join his family members.
“The issue of unlawful incarceration, imprisonment and detention of a child vis-a-vis child abduction, of course are criminal offence(s) in Nigeria.
“For the record, Dr Victor Oraegbu did not dispute the fact that the child had been discharged and seized to be his patients, but still under his unlawful incarceration, imprisonment and confinement since June 2019 and enslaved till date,” Giama said.
In a swift reaction to the allegations, the management of Syracuse Clinic has maintained its stand, stating that the child was only given an interim bill of N86,500,00 on the 6th of July, 2019.
The hospital spoke through its lawyer, Barr. Raphael Okene, Principal Partner of Chief Raphael Okene & Co.
“The mother never paid the complete money paid to her by the community. This shows that the mother of the patient has misappropriated the sum of N500,000,00 ( Five hundred thousand naira.),” Okene stated.
“We were further informed that the total of N555,000,00 (Five hundred and fifty thousand naira) collected by the community was given to the mother of the patient on two instalments of N255,000,00 and N300,000,00 respectively.”