Lagos State Government, through the Office of the Public Defender (OPD), has rescued a severely jaundiced 14-day-old baby whose parents denied life-saving blood transfusion.
The baby girl whose parents deliberately kept her away from medical attention, was delivered prematurely at a private hospital in Surulere on December 18, 2019 to Mr and Mrs Emmanuel Onokpise of Abata Close, Orile-Iganmu.
A statement by the OPD, said the baby’s parents who are Jehovah Witnesses and on Medical Insurance (HMO), opposed the blood transfusion for their baby, citing their religious belief.
The OPD 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 Safe-guiding and Child Protection Policy of 2016.
“In collaboration with the Nigeria 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 OPD said the baby was taken to Massey Street Children Hospital on Lagos Island.
It said the baby, which weighed 2.2kg at birth, weighed less than 1.7kg at the time of rescue, allegedly “due to lack of medical attention after being kept at home for one week and five days by the recalcitrant parents.”
OPD Director, Mrs. Olayinka Adeyemi, who after her visit to the child, said: “No responsible and responsive government would fold its arms and allow 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 Lagos State irrespective of gender and religion.”