For Human rights Lawyer and activist, Mr. Femi Falana, government and not kidnap victims are bound by logic of the constitution to pay ransoms to kidnappers.
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Falana asserted this on Thursday in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital at the launch of a book entitled: ‘Financing Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria’ written by Dr Olaofe Ogundipe held at Afe Babalola University.
The human rights lawyer stated that protection of lives and properties was one of the responsibilities of government towards its citizens, adding that Nigerian government had failed to protect her citizens, and must bear the consequences.
He said, “Let me say, if I am kidnapped today and I pay ransom to secure my freedom, I will surely take FG to court to refund my money because it is the responsibility of government to secure my life.”
The lawyer hit out at past and present government officials saying they had penchant for seeking medical care abroad.
He said this was a gross abuse of the rights of the less privileged, adding that government must pay the hospital bills of the ordinary Nigerians.
According to him, “In the last couple of years, President Buhari has been flown abroad for medical treatment at public expense . In the same vein, the federal government recently announced that it would pick up the medical bills of the late former Vice President, Dr Ekwueme in a London hospital.
“While the nation’s leaders deserve the best medical treatment for the preservation of their lives, it is our submission that the FG must bear the medical bills of all citizens without discrimination.
“This submission is anchored on Section 42 of the constitution which has guaranteed the fundamental right of every citizen to freedom from discrimination in a manner that no citizen shall be accorded any special advantage over and above others.
“While it is correct to state that section 17(3) of the constitution which has imposed a duty on state to ensure that there are adequate medical and health facilities for all persons is not justiceable, it is submitted that the fundamental right to health which is inseparable to the right to life is enforceable”, he said. Falana urged the federal government to ensure the effectiveness of the National Health Insurance Scheme(NHIS) by making it affordable for every citizen.”