The painful death of David Ntekim Rex, a young Nigerian IT genius, who was fatally shot by armed robbers in Lagos, threw social media users into mourning. According to a Twitter user, Roy Mustang, with the Twitter account, @Magnanimous_, David was shot around 8 pm at an undisclosed place and date. The police were alerted by undisclosed person/s but when they came, they did not take David to the hospital immediately. Roy insisted the police officers, who were drunk and misbehaving, were more interested in determining why the dying man had a laptop than in saving his life. He also said the officers were taking pictures while David gasped for air. Nevertheless, they took David to three different hospitals, the last one being LUTH. But then, the doctors and nurses in those hospitals ignored the dying man until he finally gave up the ghost.
The story is quite pathetic, considering that no one offered help to David when he needed it the most. He was not helped by the citizens, who would rather call the police than rush him to the hospital. The police came and concentrated on building a report instead of helping him receive medical attention. When the needful was finally done, the doctors and nurses that swore an oath to save lives abandoned David. If this is truly how it happened, then the system failed David. But, unlike what many Nigerians say, David wasn’t failed by Nigeria, but by Nigerians – the assailant(s), the witnesses, the police, the doctors, and the nurses.
The Duty of the Witnesses to David
According to Section 2(1) of the Compulsory Treatment and Care for Victims of Gunshot Acts, 2017, “Every person, including security agents, should render every possible assistance to any person with gunshot wounds and ensure that the person is taken to the nearest hospital for immediate treatment.” This section made it obligatory that you and I should ensure that victims of gunshots receive immediate medical attention. Maybe the people that would rather call the police than take David to the hospital are not aware of their duties to the injured man. It is also possible they didn’t want to get involved because they don’t know David or they are not sure of his dealings with his assailants. So, they would not want to be invited by the police to write a statement, or worse, be held by the hospital to pay for the medical services rendered to the injured. They might not have prior knowledge that Section 8 of this Act provides that they should not be harassed or interrogated unnecessarily when they help gunshot victims. So, to avoid trouble, the easiest thing these people could do was push the responsibility to the government. Who knows, David could have made it if someone was brave enough to act like the scriptural Good Samaritan.
The Duty of the Police Officers to David
Even though the officers that visited the crime scene must have discovered David was fatally shot, they did not take him to the hospital immediately. Their instant investigation of the victim and the cause of the gunshot were inappropriate. Even though Section 3(1) of the Compulsory Treatment and Care for Victims of Gunshot Acts, 2017 requires that officers should commence an immediate investigation into the circumstances that led to the shooting, they should have used their discretion to understand that David’s life should be saved first. Because of their lack of discernment, Nigeria was thrown into mourning.
However, the actions of the police officers show that it is possible these men received no training on moving injured persons or even offering first aid. It could be they delayed moving David because they lacked basic knowledge of how to do so. If this is the case, then a lot of things are wrong with the NPF. Nevertheless, they should have placed a call to the people that could handle the situation immediately if they couldn’t do so. But assuming their drunkenness, according to Roy, contributed to their slowness could not be determined since there is no evidence to prove it.
The Duty of the Hospital Staff to David
Section 1 of the Compulsory Treatment and Care for Victims of Gunshot Acts, 2017 states, “As from the commencement of this Act, every hospital in Nigeria whether public or private shall accept or receive, for immediate and adequate treatment with or without police clearance, any person with gunshot wound.” This section gives hospitals the right to save the lives of gunshot victims without fear of police harassment or sanctions. But according to the story narrated by Roy, the hospitals to which David was taken did not attempt to help – not even to apply first aid. They ignored the poor boy until there was no pulse. Roy did not state why these doctors and nurses acted this way but, whatever reason it could be, they failed David.
Did Nigeria Fail David?
It is assumed by many that Nigeria failed David. They believe David would not have died if he were in a developed country. Of course, if things work the way they are supposed to, the people that called the police would have taken David to the hospital by themselves without fear of police harassment and extortion, or the hospital’s demand for money deposit and victim’s details. Further, if the police are well trained, they would have known what to do at the right time. As for the hospitals that failed to attend to David at the critical moment, if sanctions are placed on hospitals for negligence, things like this will not be heard of. Finally, if there were ambulances and ever-ready paramedics at people’s disposal, they, and not the police, would have been called. This is to say that David was a victim of a bad and ill-working society.
The death of David Ntekim revealed the plight of many gunshot victims, who lost their lives as a result of their injuries. A lot would have survived if help came to them on time. Many Nigerians that would readily come to the aid of accident victims avoid those with gunshot wounds because of harassment, interrogations, detentions, and, possibly, extortions that would accompany it. Maybe if these factors are taken care of, people will readily be of help. I strongly believe David would have had a chance if the passers-by or witnesses took him to the hospital before contacting the police.