IGP, Mohammed Adamu.

CDHR petitions IGP

By Ovedhe Hezekiah

DELTA STATE – A 10 years old boy, Master Prince Emeghene Idiovwa, treated of gunshot injuries have been detained by a private hospital in Warri, Delta state, over his inability to pay his bills.

The Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (C (CDHR), in Delta state has petitioned the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu over the incarceration of the boy by the hospital.

Idiovwa could not pay his bills after he was successfully treated by the hospital.

CDHR says Idiovwa was shot by a vigilante group somewhere in Orhuwhorun in Udu local government of Delta State on 21st June, 2019, and was consequently rushed to Syracuse Clinic Warri for treatment.

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According to CDHR, Idiovwa was shot and severely wounded in the abdomen, and upon admission and treatment, the clinic gave an interim bill of N861,500 (Eight hundred and sixty one thousand, five hundred naira.)

In the petition addressed to AIG Zone 5, Benin dated 11th February 2020, signed by CDHR Secretary, Comrade Jonathan Giama (copies of which were made available to journalists in Warri on Tuesday 18th, 2020), accused Dr. Victor Oraegbu, Medical Director, Syracuse Clinic Warri of “unlawful incarceration, imprisonment and detention of Master Prince Emeghene Idiovwa after the treatment.”

CDHR stated that for the hospital to deny the young boy to go after the treatment was in contravention of “both the Child’s Right Act 2003 and the Delta State Child’s Right Law 2008 as it affects the rights of Master Prince Emeghene Idiovwa.”

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The petitioners argued that the father of Master Prince Emeghene Idiovwa is now dead while the boy is out of school and currently enslaved at Syracuse Clinic by being subjected to inhumane treatment, mental and physical torture and psychological trauma.

CDHR urged the police authorities to decide whether Dr. Victor Oraegbu of Syracuse Clinic Warri can unlawfully incarcerate, imprison or detain a child who was his patient due to accumulation of unpaid hospital bills and continue to hold such child until such bills are cleared off.

CDHR insisted that “the issue of accumulation of unpaid hospital bills are issues of debt, and issues of debt are civil matter that can be cured by mere filing a claim in a court of law but issues of an unlawful incarceration, imprisonment or detention of a child are issues that are criminal in nature that must not be condone by the society.”

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The organisation also urged the police authorities to see Dr. Victor Oraegbu’s action “as unlawful and criminal as the said child nor his parents are not responsible for the unpaid hospital bills accumulated at his hospital but the alleged Vigilante who shot the said child”.

However, Syracuse Clinic has denied detaining the boy over unpaid medical bills.

Dr.VictorOraegbu, said the mother of the patient, Mrs.Tina Idiovwa, had been accusing the hospital management of demanding outrageous bill which she could not afford as a widow.

Asked what was the total bill for the patient, he said since the matter was going to court, he would demand N2.5million saying he has “already handed over the child to the police in oder to use legal means to retrieve the medical bill”.