MOTTO: DIALOGUE, NOT VIOLENCE

10th July, 2024

PRESS RELEASE:

LASUTH ‘DISCHARGES’ GIRL-CHILD AMPUTEE, MURIC FUMES

 

Naeemat Lasisi, the 13 years old victim of the collapsed mosque, was discharged by the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital yesterday, Tuesday, 9th July, 2024. The discharge was against the wish of the parents. An Islamic human rights organization, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has described the action as an eviction. The group said the manner of the discharge was cruel, callous and inconsiderate.

 

MURIC’s position was made known in a statement released on Wednesday, 10th July, 2024. The statement was signed by the group’s Founder and Executive Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola.

 

He said:

 

“Naeemat Lasisi, the 13 years old victim of the mosque which collapsed in Mushin, Lagos State, was discharged by the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital yesterday, Tuesday, 9th July, 2024, against the wish of her parents.

 

“This is not a ‘discharge’. It is an ejection. The poor girl was forcefully ‘discharged’ because her parents refused to play ball when the hospital authorities tried to manipulate a ‘press interview’ for reasons best known to them. The intention became clear when the girl was reminded at the start of the interview that she should respond to questions ‘as earlier instructed’. The threat to ‘discharge’ the girl began immediately after the foiled interview. The manner of this ‘discharge’ is cruel, callous and inconsiderate.

 

“LASUTH management has been furious since it became obvious that the planned interview had failed. But they have not told Nigerians the reason for organizing a press interview. Why would a government hospital arrange a press interview for a patient, particularly an underaged girl? It is child abuse.

 

“Why also would the hospital management want to keep the contents of the interview secret to the extent that the Media Assistant to MURIC’s Executive Director who attended the interview, after being invited by the parents, was bundled out of the place, manhandled, detained for more than two hours and had his phone and MURIC identity card seized? What is responsible for such highhandedness? And why would the interview be so crucial that the girl-child patient would be kicked out of the hospital immediately afterwards.

 

“Our guess is that the purpose of the ‘arrangee’ interview was to counter revelations made by MURIC in its press statements. LASUTH was keen on changing the narrative and giving the false impression that our claims were incorrect.

 

“Although LASUTH claimed in its rejoinder that the decision to ‘discharge’ the girl was based on the request of ‘the headship of her school’, this is profoundly baseless, an afterthought and an escapist outlet. The girl started and concluded her WASC examinations inside the hospital and she has no more papers to take.

 

“How can the hospital management take the words of the headship of the girl’s school against that of her parents? This is a case of using a civil servant who is still in service as a cover. The parents vehemently opposed an early discharge particularly because the girl is also a sickle celler.

 

“The hospital management tried to play on public sentiment by claiming that ‘…all the goodwill, compassion and responsiveness of Mr. Governor, the Honourable Commissioner for Health and LASUTH management are being repaid in this mean manner…’

 

“LASUTH is simply playing to the gallery. The patient, Naeemat Lasisi and her parents are victims of government’s negligence. They would not have been in the hospital if the government’s caterpillar had not pulled down the mosque at a time Muslims filled the mosque for prayer. Government must therefore take responsibility and a responsible government will not need to be told before owning up. 

 

“All those who witnessed the unfortunate incident blamed government’s excavator for the collapse. This includes the Honorary Secretary, Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), Lagos chapter, Gbaja-Biamila Mubarak, who visited the site and attributed the collapse of the mosque to ‘human error and wrong approach’ to road and drainage construction in the area. He expressed concern over the deployment of a mechanised approach to the construction, saying if the drainage had been executed manually, the mosque would not have been threatened. (https://www.premiumtimesng.com/health/health-news/711058-building-collapse-group-seeks-lagos-governors-intervention-for-13-year-old-victim.html).

 

“Mr. Oluwafemi Oke-Osanyintolu, Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) said, ‘Upon arrival at the scene at about 1.40 pm, a storey building at the site was found to have collapsed. Preliminary investigation carried out upon arrival at the scene revealed that an excavator clearing the road recklessly hit a mosque, which resulted in the collapse as prayer was about to collapse.’ (https://guardian.ng/one-dies-others-injured-in-mushin-mosque-collapse/, The Guardian, May 27, 2024.

 

“The above assessment of a building expert and the testimonies, including that of the head of a Lagos government agency, are very vital to understanding the issue at stake and to put the blame where it should be. It is just too glaring. The expert said ‘human error’ and ‘wrong approach’ are to blame for the accident. But who is the ‘human’ who committed the error here?

 

“The word ‘human’ here can only mean Lagos State Government who directed the excavator to work on the road close to the mosque. Even the words ‘wrong approach’ can only mean LASG’s wrong approach or that of its engineers. LASG is vicariously responsible for what happened to the mosque and to the little girl. LASG must take responsibility and LASUTH is merely engaging in futile braggadocio that will collapse even in a customary court, the lowest in the land, like a pack of cards. What is also clear is that LASUTH is holding fort for LASG in this particular matter.

 

“It is therefore paradoxical, unfair and unjust for LASUTH management to continue blaming the parents of Naeemat Lasisi whose legs were amputated as a result of the accident caused by government’s caterpillar for being ‘mean’ and ungrateful. It is absolutely wrong for them to accuse the girl’s parents of ingratitude when in actual fact they are victims of government’s ineptitude and insensitivity. LASUTH and, by inference, LASG, are playing the victim’s card the conscienceless way.

 

“Government officials and, indeed, LASUTH management should stop seeing the citizens as recipients of their favour. We are taxpayers. Our hard-earned money built the government’s facilities including LASUTH. That statement from LASUTH sounded like its officials are claiming ownership of the place. They should come down from their high horse and exhibit the spirit of service to the public.

 

“Nigerians are not slaves of any government, talk less of that of a hospital. They voted for those in power and there can be no government without the people. This is the problem with some African governments and leaders. They fail to understand the concept of the social contract. It has manifested in the tone of the statement made by LASUTH.

 

“LASUTH management expects the parents to cringe, shiver and tremble in front of those who caused such humongous calamity in the life of their daughter. The last time we checked, LASUTH was still an arm of the Lagos State Government. It is an integral part of government.

 

“Why, then, should the staff of LASUTH pour clangorous diatribes on Naeemat’s

parents? Those who are responsible for calamity are now bullying the victim of the tragedy. It is a good reminder of conscienceless power subjugating powerless conscience. 

 

“Who pulled down the mosque in the first place? Who caused Naeemat’s legs to be amputated? Naeemat did not have a car accident. She was not knocked down by a motorcyclist. A government excavator pulled down the mosque on her. For this, government must be held responsible.

 

“We therefore want issues put in their right perspective. We will not allow LASUTH management to rewrite history its own way in order to exonerate the guilty party while an innocent girl-child and her parents are taken to the gallows.

 

“As things stand, it appears that only the press, the Fourth Estate of the realm, can make Lagos State Government own up because it has refused to comment on the issue so far. We therefore call on the only powerful conscience remaining in the land to speak to conscienceless power in the language it understands. We appeal to the press to examine the issue objectively and interrogate the role of the government of Lagos State in the Naeemat affair. 

 

“LASUTH has turned the girl-child victim to a culprit fit for bashing on social and mainstream media. It has done this by insisting that the hospital was only doing the amputee girl-child a favour by treating her pro bono whereas the truth of the matter is that Lagos Government which LASUTH is part of was responsible for bringing down the mosque where the girl-child and others were praying.

 

“In saner climes, a government whose equipment caused such havoc will apologize to the victims, take responsibility for their treatment, offer scholarship to the young victims and pay compensation to them. But LASG, in connivance with an arrogant LASUTH management, seeks to unjustly turn the narrative by turning the victims into culprits. Who did this to Nigeria? Why has our political culture and leadership style gone to the dogs? Where is our conscience? When did we discard our humanity?

 

“MURIC demands an apology from LASUTH, not for MURIC itself but for this innocent child, Naeemah and her parents, particularly for subjecting the trio to immense psychological trauma. We also demand that LASG must rebuild the mosque destroyed by its excavator. No attempt should be made to offer money to the mosque. What the Muslims want is a rebuilt mosque.

 

“The girl cried throughout Monday and Tuesday after realizing that she was going to be ‘discharged’ against the wish of her parents. It was also a pathetic scene yesterday as the poor parents struggled to get a vehicle that would convey her home.”

 

#LASUTH

#ApologiseToGirlChildAmputee

#BringBackOurMosque

 

Professor Ishaq Akintola,

Founder/Executive Director,

Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC).

 

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