June 15, 2024

The Claver Magazine

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Don Calls For Amendment Of Mental Health Act

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A professor of medical law, Professor Titilayo Aderibigbe, has called for the amendment of the Mental Health Act 2023 to incorporate traditional mental health healers.

Professor Aderibigbe made the call at the 46th inaugural lecture of Babcock University.

In a paper titled, “Engagement with the Human Body: Searching Through the Prism of Law to Shape the Future,” she said the amendment of the act would not only help to expand but would also improve the nation’s healthcare system.

She said while the Mental Health Act seeks to protect people with mental health illness from all forms of abuse, violence, and torture, among others, it, however, did not take into consideration the traditional mental healers that offer about 80 percent of healthcare in Nigeria.

President/ Vice Chancellor, Professor Ademola Tayo congratulating the 46TH Inaugural lecturer, Professor Titilayo Aderibigbe after she delivered the lecture.

Professor Aderibigbe noted that research has also shown that most of these traditional mental healers provide therapy that is in tandem with the cultural belief system.

“Therefore I am advocating that the Nigerian government incorporates traditional healers into our healthcare system through a rigorous vetting and genuine intention to expand and improve our healthcare through the amendment of Mental Health Act 2023”, she said.

The professor of medical law further noted that a more practical way to protect the adolescent victims of sexual abuse was to expose the officers who prosecute rape cases in the court to regular training and retraining.

While commending the Lagos State government for its efforts in the reporting process of gender-based abuse reports, she called on other state governments to establish special offices for members of the public to report rapes anonymously.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo (3rd right), Professor Titilayo Aderibigbe (4th left) and her spouse, with walking stick and members of the family at the inaugural lecture.

According to her, since ‘the law is the fabric that propels society and is used to engage with different aspects of the human body’, Nigerian legislators should expand their consultation to the ivory towers.

“For this reason, I believe it is important that Nigeria’s National Assembly take the pain to consult the Ivory Towers when legislative amendments are proposed before passing them”, she stated.

Professor Aderibigbe urged educational institutions to desist from promoting programmes that focus on sexualisation of young men’s and women’s bodies to those with healthy interactions, learning of new skills, and healthy engagement of the growing intellect.

She, therefore, commended Babcock University for introducing programmes that engage the students regularly.