By Lanre Adesanya
The Lagos State House of Assembly is poised to localize a federal law that would moderate and afford mental health services for persons with mental disorder.
The said Bill scaled through second reading during plenary on Monday and it also set out to create a five man member board.
Leading the debate, the Chairman House Committee on Health Service, Hon. Segun Olulade stated that the objective of the bill is to protect the rights of persons suffering from mental disorder, adding that,”when passed into law, it would guarantee the health of persons with mental disorder as we have at the federal level.”
Hon. Olulade also hinted that the Bill also sought to repeal the existing lunacy law in the State, saying, “it will afford for a better health service and provide opportunity to collaborate with other health service providers.”
He added that the Bill would protect the right of persons who were mentally deranged and also guard against discrimination.
The Chairman disclosed that the Bill when eventually passed into law would create and maintain mental health data bank.
In his comments, the Chairman House Committee on Information and Strategy, Hon. Tunde Buraimoh explained that the law would disabuse the minds of those who believe “it is only those who are on the streets that are mentally ill.”
He also added that the law would take care of persons in the traditional mental homes who usually beat up mental patient, adding that it would also make provision for research.
Hon. Adefunmilayo Tejuoso stated that from the title of the proposed law, it showed an indication that the word lunacy was removed, which according to her “it is a way of protecting the dignity of persons with mental disorder.”
While giving his support, Hon. Abiodun Tobun suggested that the treatment of the persons with mental issues should be free.
He argued that since no family members prayed for such sudden occurrence, it would be appropriate for government to bear responsibility for them.
Hon. Gbolahan Yishawu stated that there were provisions for offences as regard neglect, sexual defilement of the mentally challenged and other offences, saying however there should be an appropriate fine for deliberate concealment of the mental patient.
He explained that some family members have a way of shielding persons suffering this ailment for the fear of attendant societal stigma.
The House also screened the State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode’s approved nominees for the Lagos State House of Assembly Service Commission (LAHASCOM).
Those screened included four former members of the Commission; Mr. Olawale Mogaji, Mr. Adebayo Balogun , Mrs. Ajoke Adegeye and Mr. Bode Tawak were all renominated by the Governor.
The only new nominee screened was a three term former Secretary of Local Council Development Area in Orile, Mr Afolabi Ayantayo who enjoyed some ease having hailed from the Speakers constituency.