Dr. Nathaniel Oyinloye FRSA, FCIPDM, FIIM, FCME is the Founder/CEO of Hospital and Prison Action based in U.K and Nigeria. He has been engaging in humanitarian work bothering on rehabilitation of prison returnees as well as needy hospital patients, a feat which has earned him accolades and a number of Awards in Nigeria and the United Kingdom. In this encounter, Dr. Nathaniel spoke about the prisons and hospital conditions in Nigeria and the U.K and offer needed advises on how to reposition the prison system. Excerpts…
What are some of the secrets in British Health System that stands it out?
What makes NHS stand out is the ability to use various Laws to regulate the sector, alongside effective regulatory agencies and private watchdogs within and outside the sector. The government, through its coordinated agencies, ensures effective regulation of all hospitals and are in working partnership with relevant NGOs to ensure strict compliance. One thing that makes things work in Britain is the culture of seeking excellence in whatever is done, and this achievement is continuously improved through findings from regular observations or reports, official and unofficial. It is a society where information is freely available, where anyone can ask questions and get response, where any person or organization can be dragged to court literally by anyone who feels he or she has a point to prove. All these help to keep everyone on their toes to deliver to best services.
As former 1st Vice Chairman at Nigeria Diaspora Security Forum in the UK, how do you think Nigeria’s health sector can be saved?
The only way out is to guarantee universal access to quality healthcare as exists in the UK through the NHS. We cannot even refer to the United States in this respect as healthcare there is not affordable and accessible to all. There is a connection between health and security that our governments in Nigeria don’t seem to understand. A sick person who feels let down by the system or someone who lost a loved one through medical negligence and lack of facilities, is more likely to either withdraw from social engagement or seek to revenge on society, and more often than not, this may be through engaging in what the law may adjudge to be criminal acts. When people are healthy, they are more likely to have high level of national patriotism, stay away from crime and engage in productive activities thereby contributing positively to national growth.
What has been the experience running the affairs of Hospital and Prison Action Network in Nigeria?
Many Nigerians need to be given orientation about charity and need to team up to assist those in Correctional Centres and in the Hospital.
Most of these people can’t help themselves.
Let’s take it one after the other, in some of your outreaches to prison , what are your major discoveries?
Major discoveries is that the inmates needs more support and attention Morally , Mentally , Socially and even legally
Why do think most elites, especially Nigerian politicians travel overseas on medical treatment instead of relying on Nigeria’s Teaching Hospitals?
Lack of confidence, poor medical equipment and lack of security in the hospital systems. Look, you have only one life and you can’t gamble it away in a medical system that is literally nonfunctional, so if you can afford it, you would prefer to travel abroad or send your loved ones abroad for better service, at least to ensure that you spend your remaining days on earth in good health. If the system is of excellent quality where global medical best practices are adhered to, then you would see that many of those who travel abroad for health checks would drastically reduce.
What steps do you think the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari can take to ensure Nigerian hospitals maintain International standards?
The government through its coordinated agencies should ensure effective regulation of all hospitals and should be in working partnership with relevant NGOs to ensure strict compliance. There should be monitoring and evaluation of all Nigerian hospitals. Federal Hospitals in all states must have a general hospital also, with appropriate facilities. Medical practitioners must be paid very well, to enable them to work effectively. He should encourage our medical practitioners abroad to come home and work in our hospitals and clinics. Provide Free medical care for all citizens.
How will you rate the health institutions in Nigeria presently?
The Nigeria health institutions are not up to standard due to non-provision of up to date equipment and medications, corruption that permeate the nation, lackadaisical attitude of the staff, most of whom can be very rude to patients, high rate of negligence, the brain drain of qualified medical experts to seek greener pastures abroad and the little or no standardization control of the multitude of private health centres that spring up all over the place, sometimes using only two rooms with untrained nurses and minimally sterilized medical tools. The sad fact is that the situation may not be remedied as those in position to do so and the rich ones, more often than not, opt to have medical check ups and treatment abroad.
What is your view about moral decadence in modern society?
The family institution has failed woefully in child up bringing. The Family is the basic unit of the society which is responsible for procration and up bringing . Inculcation of moral , norms and value. But unfortunately , it has failed thus making the coming generation to lack moral thereby committing or going to crime.
What would be your advice to the government in both climes?
In Nigeria , Government are expected to have the welfare of the citizens in mind . Most of those in custody in Nigeria are convectional criminals . The crimes they committed that brought them to prison is as a result of poverty.
Who is Doctor Nathaniel Oyinloye?
Dr. Rev. Nathaniel Oyinloye FRSA, FCIPDM, FIIM, FCME is an Humanitarian, Philanthropist and Founder/CEO of Hospital And Prison Ministries (HAPM) – UK, Hospital & Prison Action Network (HPAN) – UK established in 2003, and Founder of Hospital & Prison Welfare Initiative (HPWI) Nigeria in 2015, Canada in 2018 & USA in 2018
I am a member of many professional and academy organization. i am also an Human Rights Advocate, an author, a researcher and voice for the voiceless people, Supporting the less privileged and abandoned people in the community.
How did you attain this ecstatic feat in United Kingdom programme that led to you laurel of ‘many multiple Achievement Awards’?
I have been working at grassroot level for over 18 years, engaging in local projects that promote the rehabilitation of people discharged from prison or hospital to get back to normal life as smoothly and quickly as humanly possible. On this basis I think I am on ground enough to be part of the ongoing development in the two sectors. I am a practical person. For our ‘feed the homeless’ project for instance, I personally get involved and closely monitor the collection and distribution of the food and other materials such as sleeping bags in the winter period. So my style of direct engagement earned me the accolade.
What is your honest assessment of the Criminal Justice System of Nigeria?
The Nigerian criminal Justice system is far from achieving it purpose of Justice delivery.
Access to Justice for the common man is difficult. Beginning with the police, a victim of an offence may have to mobilize the police before they would be motivated to do their Jobs.
An alleged offender may have to tip the police before he would be admitted to bail pending investigation… Yes bail is free by law but once the police imposed conditions too onerous to meet, you have no option than to come to their level.
Sadly, an offender may end up being charged on frivolously, dimply because he didn’t settle at the police.
A good case may be swept under the carpet simply because the offender paid a good bribe… At the end only few get justice. The court too have not helped the situation.
The court docket are bulky. A case can go on and on for years, even credible witnesses would have died before the accused is let go. Most times, most awaiting trial inmates spend more time in jail than the term stipulated for the offense.
In all prisons in Nigeria, number of convicts rank low compared to convicts.