A 14-day-old baby has been saved by the Office of the Public Defender in Lagos State after the parents denied her of blood transfusion on religious grounds.
The baby’s name which was not mentioned was given birth to prematurely at a private hospital located in Surelere on December 18, 2019, to Mr and Mrs Emmanuel Onokpise of Abata Close, Orile-Iganmu.
According to a report, the girl which was delivered prematurely was distorted at birth and the doctors advised that she be given an urgent blood transfusion to survive.
The Office of the Public Defender (OPD) in a statement revealed that the parents of the baby who are members of Jehovah Witnesses and on Medical Insurance stood against the blood transfusion on religious grounds.
The duo decided to discharge their baby from the hospital over the call for blood transfusion.
OPD in the statement said, “It was the critical health condition of the baby and deviant position of the parents that persuaded a spirited member of the public to inform the Lagos Office of the Public Defender to save the child from untimely death.”
“The agency swung into action immediately, got the relevant court order by invoking relevant sections of the Lagos Child`s Rights Law of 2015 and Lagos State Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy of 2016.”
“In collaboration with the Nigerian Police, Adeniji- Adele and Orile stations, the baby was eventually evacuated from the parents’ home after stiff resistance from other mobilised members of the Jehovah Witness on 30th December 2019.”
The body further stated that the baby was taken to Massey Street Children Hospital on Lagos Island.
OPD revealed that the baby which weighed 2.2kg at birth had reduced to 1.7kg at the time of rescue “due to lack of medical attention after being kept at home for one week and five days by the recalcitrant parents.”
The Director of OPD, Olayinka Adeyemi, who visited the baby at the hospital said, “No responsible and responsive government would fold its arms and allowed any parent or guardian to act ignorantly on religious grounds in a way that would be risky or injurious to the life of any other person, especially children or their wards under their care.”
“The administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in its avowed commitment to provide good governance and security shall leave no stone unturned when protecting rights of women, children, the vulnerable and indigent residents of the Lagos State irrespective of gender and religion.”
Adeyemi noted that the agency is aware that factors like ignorance and poverty have denied some people of justice.
She called on the public to take advantage of the OPD’s free legal services to seek for justice, protection and enforcement of their rights.
Adeyemi further stated that the Lagos State government will not stop until the supremacy of the rule of law is established in the state..