Quack Medical Doctor jailed for 10 years

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‎Jethro Ibileke/Benin

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An Evbuoriaria Magistrates’ court sitting in Benin City, southern Nigeria, has sentenced a 32-year old man, Jeremiah Onovwata, to 10 years imprisonment with hard labour.

Onovwata was found guilty on the five count-charge on which he was arraigned. He ‎was jailed without an option of fine for operating an unregistered private clinic, located at Siluko Road, Benin, where he was said to have impersonated as the Chief Medical Director.

‎The medical facility, Divine Maternity and Clinic was said to have metamorphosed into Divine Nursing home and Maternity.

The trial Magistrate, Patricia Igho Braimoh, while sentencing the accused, said the court was satisfied with the “uncontradicted prosecution evidence which was corroborated by the evidence of the defence,” adding that the accused was therefore guilty as charged.

Citing relevant sections of the law, the Magistrate said the convict was earlier pardoned for the same offence in 2009, having deposed to an undertaking never to impersonate as the Medical Director at the clinic and maternity, only to be arrested again for the same offence.

Defence counsel, Evidence Ejemu Etimbowei, pleaded for allocutus to enable the accused who claimed to have attended Edo State School of Health Technology, Benin meet his family needs.

Dr. (Mrs.) Helen Eboreime, Director, Medical Services, described the judgement as appropriate considering the investigation of the committee to rid the state of quack doctors.

Eboreime, who is also the Chairman of Medical Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), the regulatory body of medical practice in the state, urged health practitioners operating in the state either without appropriate licence from appropriate authorities or health practitioners that operate beyond their scope of training to retrace their steps.

She observed that most health facilities in the state were operated by male nurses and other health workers and encouraged the public to always endeavour to seek wise counsel before taking crucial decisions concerning their health.

The convict will however serve only two of the 10-year jail term, as the sentences will run concurrently.