UNILORIN don warns against legalising ‘mercy killing, ‘assisted suicide’ in Nigeria

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The first Professor of Euthanasia and Medical Law in Africa, Bashiru Omipidan, has cautioned against legislation that will legalise the practice of mercy killing and assisted suicide in Nigeria.

Omipidan, who is a lecturer in the department of private and property law of the University of Ilorin, also called for tightening of Nigeria’s criminal code, by providing sections that will handle euthanasia and assisted suicide in line with the code of ethics of medical practitioners.

Delivering the 225th inaugural lecture of the university of Ilorin Thursday  , Omipidan warned that legalising mercy killing and assisted suicide ” will increase the demand for organs of innocent patients who are though terminally ill, not yet dead”.

His lecture  was tilted  “Euthanasia the 21st century  Culture of Death : Interrogating Lacuna in the Nigerian Laws and Code of Medical Ethics”.

Qouting  a word health organisation (WHO 2018) reports, Omipidan regretted that Nigeria despite being one of the countries with code of medical ethics which emphasized the preservation  of humman lives , is recording  an increase in suicide cases.

A situation which according to him, suggested that the country need to criminalise assisted suicide.

“Euthanasia and assissted suicide should not be legalised  in Nigeria beacuse , unknown  to so many people, legalising them will increase the demand for organs of innocent patients who are though terminally ill, not yet dead.

“Government should as a matter of urgency, equip hospitals and clinics  in  Nigeria  with state-of the -art  health facilities. Special emphasis should also be placed on the health of severely or terminally ill, the disabled,  aged persons, and  babies with deformities in Nigeria.

“Nigeria  should tighten its present law and address the exiting lacuna by ammending its criminal code laws to provide for sections which will specifically handled ethunasia and assisted  suicide issues  so as to be in tandem with the codes of medical ethics for medical  practitioners. Nigeria  should  by the suggested amendment criminalise euthanasia and  assisted suicide”.

He appealed to the medical association to train an retrain members on effective pain management to enable them give appropriate advice to terminally ill person.

Omipidan advocated the establishment of an anti -suicide and paliative care center at the nation’s institutions of higher learning to assist students who might be contemplating suicide.

The university don, urged the media to be more objective in reporting controversial issues such as euthanasia and assisted suicide.

He recommended that more scholars should be encouraged to venture into further research on euthanasia and assisted suicide to increase resource persons to tackle new challenges posed by the concepts.

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