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Reuters’ reported number of abortion incomprehensible – MD


….As NHRC Panel Visits Borno State Specialist Hospital over Reautets Report

By Chibuike Nwabuko

Abuja (Sundiata Post) – The Medical Director (MD) of Borno State Specialist Hospital, Dr. Baba Shehu Mohammed has described the Reuters report to the effect that over 10,000 pregnancies of women and girls were aborted as incomprehensible. Adding that the Hippocratic Oath taken by every medical doctor the world over prohibits unprofessional practices including abortions.

Sundiata Post recalls that the Special Independent Investigative Panel on Human Rights Violations in Counter Insurgency Operations in the North East (SIIP-NE) has visited the Specialist Hospital as part of its fact-finding missions into alleged human rights violations perpetrated by the Nigerian Military as contained in a three-part report released by Reuters, an international News Agency, in late 2022.

The 7-man Panel Chaired by a retired Supreme Court Justice, Hon. Justice Abdu Aboki (Rtd), engaged the health management team of the hospital in a series of questions relating to the allegations contained in the Reuters report.

The Medical Director (MD) of the hospital Dr. Baba Shehu Mohammed who was interrogated by the Panel’s lead counsel Mr. Hilary Ogbonna, expressed shock at the number of alleged abortions conducted on women and girls as related by Reuters in its report.

The MD said that Hippocratic Oath taken by every medical doctor the world over prohibits unprofessional practices including abortions. He noted that abortion is a form of killing pointing out that “even where it involves chicken if a man kills up to 10,000 of them people around him will know and talk about it, let alone 10, 000 pregnancies of women and girls allegedly done since 2013 and nobody heard about it until in 2022 when Reuters’ released the report?” this is incomprehensible he added.

The Medical Director also expressed shock over Reuters’ alleged Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) including the massacre of children by the Nigerian Military in the course of Counter Insurgency Operations going on in the North East. He said the Military is expected to provide protection for victims, especially women and children, why then will they turn around to kill the children? “Even Moses was brought up by Pharaoh who was a tyrant, why will anyone kill a child?” he questioned.

On the alleged involvement of the Hospital in the “secret abortion programme” also alleged by Reuters, Dr. Mohammed said, “No public hospital will do that and if such a thing really happens, it will be easy to get the survivor”. He said the hospital had received reports of several deaths occasioned by insurgency but none from abortions and massacre of children by the Military as alleged.

The MD however conceded that the Hospital manages miscarriages and allows medical abortions which he noted are done to save the lives of women who while pregnant go through some serious health condition including cardiovascular disorder; however this must be after thorough consultations involving several doctors who must agree to the termination of pregnancy as a last resort to save the life of the mother, he emphasised.

This position was corroborated by other Heads of Departments and critical staff of the Hospital, all saying that there have not been any sharp practices and unprofessional conducts as alleged in Reuters’ report.

For instance, the immediate past MD, Dr. Laraba Bello told the panel that at the peak of the insurgency, the hospital was receiving a lot of casualties including women and girls and these are not for abortions, saying that abortion is not allowed in the hospital.

On the issue of the woman who was brought into the hospital dead resulting from bleeding from abortion and deposited in the mortuary by the hospital guard, as also contained in the Reuters report, the former MD said the hospital guard does not have any business handling patients or corpses as that was not his line of duty, “the hospital guard only controls crowd and persons from getting access to prohibited areas.

On this allegation, the Hospital Mortician, Mallam Ahmadu Mohammed stated that the Hospital does not accept corpses without asking for the death certificate and Hospital card of the victims (for in-patients) and that for corpses coming from outside, appropriate documentation must be made in the Hospital before the Morticians accept such corpses for keep in the Hospital Morgue.

Other personnel who gave oral evidence to the panel are Dr. Umar U. Zarah HOD and Consultant Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Juliana Judiufa HOD, Health Information Management, and Pharmacist Alheri Mbiting HOD, Department of Pharmacy.

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