The Director General of Legal Aid Council Aliyu Bagudu Abubakar on resumption of duty as the Chief Executive of the Council held a meeting with both the management and non management staff of the Council. The reason for the meeting was to know how to reposition the council for improvement on her services and proffer practicable solutions to problems.
Hence, In the bid to make sure that every department lives up to expectation, approval was granted for sensitization of masses on valuable services rendered by OSCAR Unit to the Road Traffic accident Victims and relatives deceased ones. Based on this, The Director in charge of Oscar Unit, Mrs. Edith Adams embarked on a two week sensitization programme with the staff of the unit and the desk officers from health, Police and NAICOM. The essence of the outreach was to appeal for synergy, Publicize OSCAR Services within the health community and grant the motor accident Victims that visit the hospital Easy access to the said services and Compensations/ Claims provided under the law.
The Question is what is Oscar all about? Oscar is a one stop claim shop for victims of motor accidents. Why is it a stop shop? the concept of the one stop shop was to enable victims of motor crash enjoy all services needed from all federal government agencies what, are involve in processing of claims and compensations with ease in one place (office) without difficulty. The said agencies are Nigeria Police Force (NPF) National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), Health and Human Services Secretariat (HHSS), Legal Aid Council (LAC). Aside these agencies are 20 partner agencies made up of Ministry / Agencies.
One may ask how did Oscar came to be? The federal government in a bit to cushion financial loss, arising out of motor crash and deal with factors depriving motor accident victims from enjoying compensation/ entitlement under the law set up in 2007. Oscar is a pilot Scheme initiated by Department for International Development (DFID) It was launched in 2007 and by 2009 the DFID need an agency to handover Oscar to for continuity, to this end, the Federal Government in the same year handed over the management of Oscar to legal aid council, through her parent ministry, the Federal Ministry of Justice after a successful bid among other government agencies like National Insurance Commission, Nigeria Police Force, Federal Road Safety Commission etc. with the sole aim of cushioning the financial loss arising from motor accident knowing fully well that Road traffic accident is one of the major causes of sudden financial loss, bodily injury, permanent disability, loss of property and death. The Council therefore, through Oscar assist accident victims free of charge in getting their insurance claims compensation for victims hit by uninsured Vehicles, compensation for victims hit by “Hit and Run” driver, obtain Police, medical report and death certificate which are the criteria needed for processing insurance claims, legal advice, legal representation and resolving of motor insurance complaints.
The most interesting aspect of this and worthy of note is a scheme by the Federal Government called MAVICS – motor Accidents Victims Insurance Compensations Scheme. A social welfare scheme enjoyed by the next of kin of the deceased victims under Hit and run Accidents by virtue of section 78 (1) (b) of the insurance Act 2003. Victims have received N104,000,000. (One Hundred and Four Million) monetary compensation from inception to date from mediation Insurance claims and MAVICS. Aside these we have had replacement of damaged properties even wheelbarrow.
Oscar within the two week of her sensitization awareness campaign visited Asokoro General Hospital, Maitama General Hospital, Wuse General Hospital, Kubuwa General Hospital, Zuba General Hospital. Nyanya General Hospital, Bwari General Hospital, Gwagwalada General Hospital, Abaji General Hospital, Kwali General Hospital and Karu General Hospital.
The desk officers that facilitate Oscar’s activities are health desk officer, NAICOM desk officer and Police desk officer etc.
In each of the hospitals visited, Oscar through her health desk officer Mr. Musa Abubakar and Dr. Mrs. Titi Egbuson, Chief Medical Officer, Medical and Diagnosis Department were on grand to introduce the Oscar team in the hospital and explained to the medical director and his team that the essence of the visit is to create a synergy between Oscar and the hospital to move Oscar forward Stressing that Many people are not aware of the services we render. When we collaborate, we get quick response from the hospitals regarding demands in the areas of medical report on the victim, death certificate. For victims of hit and run, verification of receipts, and also to help LAC sensitize Oscars activities within the hospital environment and the last but not the least to familiarize ourselves with the hospital management and particularly the Accident and emergency A/E unit staff since they are usually our first point of call.
In response to all the request Oscar made to the various hospital management. The medical directors first of all appreciated the (DG LAC) for the good work the council is doing through Oscar a one stop shop for accidents victims and also for educating them on the need to build trust on the insurance companies they equally assured the council that all their request were well noted and that they will receive maximum support from them since we all are working as a team to save lives of Nigerians in need.
However, in Maitama General Hospital, it was a different kettle of fish as the Medical director in charge stated it clearly that he cannot give death certificate because it has a ’clause’ cause of death and that a good number of Doctors are in trouble because of issuance of death certificate. Maitama do not carry out autopsy and as such cannot issue death certificate. Autopsy are legal matters that can be challenged in court. Death certificate are issued to the next of king which therefore, means, you must identify next of kin because when it enters a wrong hand, it becomes a problem. The MD therefore advised that, Oscar Legal Aid should make an appeal to the insurance companies to change it to Notification of death so that the masses will benefit more from the good services Oscar is rendering. On this note, the Director (Oscar) appreciated him for granting Oscar audience and also for his advice. In each of the hospital visited a register with relevant phone numbers were handed over to the head accident and emergency unit for registration of cases.