By Saminu Muhammad
Medical Immunity or Neutrality refers to a principle of non-interference with medical services and the health care givers in times of armed conflict and civil unrest. Health personnel must be allowed to care for the sick and wounded, and soldiers must receive care regardless of their country of origin or political affiliations. All parties must refrain from attacking and misusing medical facilities, transport, and personnel. Concepts comprising the principles of medical neutrality are derived from international human rights law, medical ethics and humanitarian law. Medical neutrality may be thought of as a kind of social contract that obligates societies to protect medical personnel in both times of war and peace, and obligates medical personnel to treat all individuals regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or political affiliation. Violations of medical neutrality constitute crimes outlined in the Geneva Conventions.
In Islam, human dignity has being placed on a high status due to its unquantifiable value. An armed soldier when surrendered his weapon has immunity against aggressions to talk less of health personnel and as well un-armed. In the same vein, health personnel must treat all clients even if from enemy side for life saving. Therefore, the principle of medical neutrality has roots in many social traditions.
– The Hippocratic Oath, which requires health personnel to practice medicine ethically, dates back to the fifth century.
– The idea of ‘do no harm’ (non-maleficence) has histories in “Jewish and Islamic, as well as Chinese and Indian medicine”
– Geneva Conventions (the core of international humanitarian law, supported and protected by the International Committee of the Red Cross):
The First Geneva Convention was written by Henri Dunant in response to seeing such the difficulty of treating wounded soldiers at the Battle of Solferino.
1) The first and the following Geneva Conventions created the Red Cross, outline the protections of medical personnel in times of war, codify the protections of citizens, soldiers, medical personnel, etc.
2) The First Geneva Convention states that there should be no “obstacle to the humanitarian activities” and that wounded and sick “shall be respected and protected in all circumstances.”
3) Article 19 demands that medical units, i.e. hospitals and mobile medical facilities, may in no circumstances be attacked.
4) The Declaration of Geneva was created as an amendment to the Hippocratic Oath in 1948, a response to the human experimentation on Nazi prisoners.
Let us come to the situation here in Nigeria during the so-called ‘democratic dispensation’ during President Muhammadu Buhari. Democratic dispensation is meant to give equal right to all citizens regardless of socioeconomic status, political/religious affiliations, and race e.t.c. But to the dismay of IMN, its members were attack in broad daylight without any prior provocation to the Nigerian military personnel. Later, IMN came to realize the incident to be a pre-planned agenda to please the West, USA, Israel and Saudi Arabia under watch-dog of the ailing Nigerian president. Look at the five items above and see whether one has not been violated by the Nigerian state against its citizens.
The second item talked of protection to medical personnel and all citizens in times of war and violence. There was no any war between IMN and Nigerian security operatives, rather an all-out subdue and extermination of innocent Nigerian tax payers by those responsible to protect them. Nigerian army violated the rights of IMN members on 12-14th December, 2015 without sparing anybody including medical personnel present at the scene to assist the wounded persons.
They did not spare the dignity and honour of the wounded IMN members at Hussainiyya, Gyallesu and Darur-Rahma all in Zaria in the aforementioned days. Their slogan was ‘whoever you see with hand-gloves shoot him is their doctor’. That was how they assassinated our medical personnel during the three days of crackdown on human rights and dignity. That was how they killed and mutilated medical doctors, nurses, community health officers, medical laboratory scientists and first-aiders e.t.c.
Article 19 of Geneva Convention on Medical Immunity prohibits attack on medical facilities such as hospitals and ambulances and anything serving as their improvise. They attacked our ambulances at Husainiyya and assassinated some medical personnel there example of whom was Abubakar Naira. While his friend Aminu was arrested now in Kaduna Central Prison. Malam Awwal Hanwa, laboratory scientist was among those battered and imprisoned for almost 14 months. There were two camps were first-aid treatment was given to the wounded persons and both places were attacked and destroyed by armed men form the SSS and Nigerian army.
When the Declaration of Geneva was created as an amendment to the Hippocratic Oath in 1948, a response to the human experimentation on Nazi prisoners, Nigerian army killed medical personnel in Gyallesu and Husainiyya on cold blood engagement and mostly at close range. Some were burnt alive and some wounded personnel were exterminated by shooting on the head and heart location. And some medical personnel could be among those buried alive with injuries that can be revitalized when given prompt care.
Where is Dr. Mustapha Sa’id a medical consultant, a resident of Gyallesu, Zaria and Alzakzaky’s medical doctor? What of Chief Nursing Officer, Garba Ishaq; the Incharge of main theater Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital, Kano? Tell us the where about of retired Community Health Officer, Malam Ayuba Ibrahim also from Kano. They were all in Gyallesu helping the injured persons till 13th December, 2015 when Nigerian army silenced them. ISMA Medical Care Initiatives wants to know their graves if among the deceased and how they were extra-judicially killed. If they remain alive and in your custody, then what crime qualified them to be treated the way you are treating them? And in case you burn them alive, give us the ashes as it deserve our respect. And IMN in general and ISMA Medical Care Initiative in particular is surprise with your conduct against the Geneva Convention on Medical Immunity. This is because IMN expected compliance with rule of law in this regime as the second citizen of the Federation is a lawyer, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) as well a Professor in same field. Now same person is the Acting President with full capacity to run the government according to the provisions of the constitution. *IMN and ISMA Medical Care Initiatives* expect justice to be done on this issue of violating our immunity against of forms of maltreatment we suffered from 12-14th December, 2015.
*Peace be upon those who follow righteousness*