Justice Lateef Fagbemi
Justice Lateef Fagbemigoogle photo

AGF Fagbemi to Reassess Penalties for People Attempting Suicide

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, has pledged to review the law that imposes sentencing for suicide attempts.

He made the promise after receiving a delegation from the Asido Foundation, a non-governmental organisation dedicated to promoting mental health advocacy and reforms aimed at increasing awareness, reducing stigma and discrimination, and empowering individuals with mental disorders and their families.

The Special Adviser to the President on Communications & Publicity, Office of the AGF, Kamarudeen Ogundele, disclosed this in a statement available to newsmen on Sunday in Abuja.

According to the AGF, one of the priority areas in President Bola Ahmed Tinubu's administration is health.

“The law is something we have to take a second look at, especially where it is established that the offenders are not in the right state of mind. What the offenders need is pity, treatment and love to rid society of this kind of situation.

“But whatever we do is not binding on the states. So, I will take the case to the Body of Attorneys General,” Fagbemi said.

He made a commitment to raise the issues concerning the Mental Health Act with his colleagues in the Federal Ministry of Health.

Earlier, Dr Jibril Abdulmalik, the founder of Asido, sought the AGF's assistance in reviewing the law that sentences individuals for attempted suicide and implementing the Mental Health Act signed into law by former President Muhammadu Buhari in January 2023.

Abdulmalik stated that medical evidence has demonstrated that 80-90 percent of those who attempted suicide worldwide had underlying mental illness, particularly depression.

“In that situation, what they need is help and treatment, not punishment and incarceration. We know the workload is heavy for our judicial officers. We don’t want them overburdened with cases that should ordinarily go to the hospitals,” he added.

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