On 04/Oct/2014 / In Medical News
Stakeholders in the justice and psychiatry sectors have called on the National Assembly to speedily pass the Mental Health Bill into law.
This was part of their resolutions in the communiqué issued after a two-day national workshop on mental health and justice in Nigeria, organized by the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria (LACON) in partnership with Prisoners Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA) in Abuja.
The stakeholders include members of the Federal Ministry of Justice, the Nigerian Police, National Agency for Prohibition of Traffic in Persons (NAPTIP), Association of Psychiatrists in Nigeria, the media, The Nigeria Prison Service and members of the National Assembly among others.
The stakeholders also called for the speedy implementation of the National Policy on Mental Health, and urged the public and other relevant organizations particularly the media to use the term mental illness instead of mental disability and mentally ill persons instead of lunatic.
Other resolutions include: That there is need to bring the system of evaluating and examining the physical and mental health conditions of suspects immediately after arrest to international best practices, and the trial judge or magistrates hearing charges should at the appropriate time review the remand orders of persons with mental illness appearing before them.
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Nigeria Country Representative, Mrs. Mariam Sissoko said the treatment of prisoners with mental health challenges is one of the areas where major advances have been made, but many challenges remain, not only in Nigeria, but in criminal justice systems around the world.
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