With modern science`s ability to prolong life, it`s easy to be mistaken about when death begins. We are therefore forced to consider new perspectives that distinguish between death as we knew it before and death, in which the human body lives in one way or another, but not the brain or an important part of it.  The terms euthanasia and assisted suicide, which are often used interchangeably, have different definitions. In the latter situation, a person voluntarily causes death, that is, commits suicide with the help of another person who provides the means to end the patient`s life, as well as an explicit awareness of the person`s decision to commit suicide, which is often related to a medical condition. Lethal drugs could be used. Unlike euthanasia, the provider does not have to be the direct cause of death. Â· Should euthanasia only be available in hospitals? Medically assisted suicide: This is a case where a physician assists a patient in dying. Unlike euthanasia, in which the doctor is the author, in this situation, the doctor is only an accessory. Thus, the doctor does not cause death, it is the patient who causes death. In practice, a doctor achieves this by providing a person with the knowledge, means, or both necessary to commit suicide, such as advising on lethal drugs, prescribing such lethal doses, or administering the pills. In light of the above, it is argued that the right to death by euthanasia or assisted suicide for terminally ill people with no hope of recovery is not contrary to the right to life. On the contrary, any insistence on keeping the patient alive against his will, in excruciating pain and anguish, or in a permanent vegetative state, often in an undignified manner, contradicts the patient`s constitutional rights to liberty, dignity of the human person, privacy, freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
Therefore, a general criminalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide, as we have seen in Nigeria`s criminal laws, regardless of the special and mitigating circumstances of well-deserved cases of euthanasia and assisted suicide, is contrary to the spirit and letter of the 1999 Constitution and is therefore unconstitutional. This is clearly consistent with the principles and the Supreme Court`s decision in MDPT v. Okonkwo and should include deserved cases of voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide. It is natural to believe that people`s culture influences their thoughts on euthanasia and assisted suicide. As a result, the prospects of a dignified death in other countries diverge from African cultures, especially in Nigeria, where it is considered a strict taboo. However, in areas like Oregon, assisted suicide is considered dying with dignity. Nigerians are among the least worthy of death. They believe in the sanctity of life. Euthanasia and assisted suicide are also strictly prohibited in the traditional law of most Nigerian societies.
This is evident in some communities where the body of a person who died of one of these methods is usually buried in the “evil forest” and anyone who participated in the procedure is excommunicated. After that, a long process of atonement and cleansing of the community or country takes place. The case of the Medical and Dental Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal against John Nicholas Okonkwo cannot be discussed in Nigeria without mentioning euthanasia. This case illustrates the inconsistency between court decisions and Nigerian legislation on euthanasia and assisted suicide. The Supreme Court has recognized the primacy of a patient`s right to consent to medical intervention or treatment in this case. If the evidence demonstrates that the patient was a mature and capable adult, the constitutional right to privacy includes the ability of such a patient to refuse treatment that could prolong his or her life. Even if a refusal can result in death. The Court held that “the right to freedom of thought, conscience or religion includes the right not to be prevented without legitimate justification from choosing one`s own path of life on the basis of one`s belief and the right not to be compelled to act against one`s religious beliefs.”  The Court also stated that a physician may legitimately withdraw any type of treatment from a patient who has consented to die on religious grounds by refusing a blood transfusion. The Supreme Court of Nigeria has explicitly or implicitly allowed passive euthanasia in Nigeria, according to a thorough reading of this decision. It is generally accepted that the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 is a top priority and that its provisions take precedence, and that any other law inconsistent with the Constitution is void to the extent of its incompatibility.
This is consistent with the primacy clause of the Constitution. An essential feature of this Constitution is enshrined in Chapter IV of the Constitution. This chapter contains comprehensive provisions on the validity, recognition, legalization and protection of fundamental human rights. Perhaps humanity`s greatest gift, as far as law is concerned, is the development of these rights into inalienable rights, and this has made these rights inviolable and fundamental so that they cannot be swept under the carpet. Some of these provisions are directly related to the law and practice of euthanasia and assisted suicide. These provisions include the right to life, the right to human dignity, privacy, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, the right not to be subjected to discrimination, torture and humane and degrading treatment. Accordingly, article 33 of the Constitution enshrines the right to life. The Constitution also provides for other rights, but for the purposes of this work, special reference should be made to articles 34, 49 and 38 of the Constitution, which enshrine the right to human dignity, freedom of thought, conscience and religion and the right to personal liberty.
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