Lagos State Government Explains Why Baby Was Taken From Jehovah Witness Parents

The Lagos State Government has rescued a 14-day-old baby girl after her parents refused to allow her have blood transfusion, citing religious beliefs. The infant who was said to be born fragile and jaundiced was kept at home by her Jehovah Witness parents who were against a medical intervention until the state government stepped in through the Office of the Public Defender under the Child Rights Law.

Reports claim that after a clash with members of the Jehovah Witness who had mobilised to resist the rescue of the baby, the little girl was eventually taken to the hospital where the blood transfusion was done. The Head of Public Affairs, OPD, Mahmud Hassan, confirmed the incident in a statement on Monday.

He noted that the child was born prematurely at a private hospital in Surulere to the family of one Mr Emmanuel Onokpise of Abata Close, Orile-Iganmu.

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Hassan said the baby was discovered to be “severely jaundiced” and was recommended for blood transfusion to survive.

“However, the parents of the girl, who are Jehovah’s Witnesses and on medical insurance, vehemently opposed the blood transfusion for the baby, citing religious beliefs and contrary to medical advice, decided to discharge the baby and took her home.

The critical health condition of the baby and the defiant position of her parents persuaded a spirited member of the public to inform the OPD to save the child from untimely death.

The agency swung into action immediately, got the relevant court order by invoking the relevant sections of the Lagos Child Rights Law of 2015 and the Lagos State Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy of 2016.

In collaboration with the Nigeria Police, Adeniji-Adele and Orile stations, the baby was eventually taken from the parents’ home after stiff resistance from other mobilised members of the Jehovah Witness on December 30, 2019. The baby was taken to the Massey Street Children Hospital,”

he added.

The OPD official said the baby, who weighed 2.2 kilogrammes at birth, weighed less than 1.7kg after being kept at home for one week and five days.

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