The Management of the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN) has eventually reacted to a recent ruling of the Federal High Court, Calabar Judicial Division which was delivered on the 25th of April, 2023 (See true copies of the judgement as delivered by His Lordship Hon. Justice S.A Amobeda here).
MLSCN had arraigned two individuals who were non-Medical Laboratory Scientists before the Federal High Court on the 9th day of March, 2020 on a two (2) count charge of impersonation and quackery.
Read the MLSCN reaction below:
“IMPLICATIONS OF THE JUDGMENT DELIVERED BY HIS LORDSHIP, HON. JUSTICE S. A. AMOBEDA ON THE 19TH DAY OF JUNE, 2023 IN CHARGE NO: FHC/CA/19C/2020 BETWEEN THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AND ORIM AUGUSTINE ILAH AND ANDIABU DENNIS
It has come to the attention of the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN) that different versions of interpretation of this judgment have crowded the media space and some of these erroneous interpretations are evoking the wrong reactions among practitioners. Therefore, to put an end to the cacophony, set the record straight, and to protect the interest of the unsuspecting members of the public, MLSCN has decided to state ONLY the facts and the implications of the judgment, if any, on the Medical Laboratory Science profession.
The defendants in this case were arraigned in court on the 9th day of March, 2020 on a two (2) count charge. The offences brought against them were personation and quackery. The particulars of the charge are as follows:
“That you, ORIM AUGUSTINE ILAH “MAND ANDIABU C. DENNIS, “M” on or about the 12th day of October, 2019 and 13th day of November, 2019 at about 11 am at Four Comers. Ikom, Cross River State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, having not qualified as Medical Laboratory Scientists, falsely represent yourselves out to the public as Medical Laboratory Scientists, offering medical laboratory services which you are not members and thereby committed an offence, punishable under Section 22(5) of the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria Act. Cap M25 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004
That you, ORIM AUGUSTINE ILAH M and ANDIABU C. DENNIS, ‘M’ on or about 11am at Four Comers, Ikom, Cross River State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did personate as Medical Laboratory Scientists which you are not members, having not qualified as Medical Laboratory Scientists, falsely represent yourselves out to the public as a qualified and licensed Medical Laboratory Scientists by operating purported medical laboratory services outfits to wit: Microsystems Laboratory and Test and Cure Bacvigal Laboratory at Four Comers, Ikom, Cross River State and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 22(5) of the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria Act. Cap M25 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004″
The court in arriving at its decision took into consideration the oral testimonies of the witnesses for the prosecution and the defendants, the exhibits tendered at trial, the written addresses filed by the Prosecution and the Defence Counsel and the ingredients to prove the charge of personation and quackery. The ingredients to prove personation are:
a. That the accused represented or held out himself to be some other person or as occupying some position or office:
b. That the representation was false; and c. That the representation was made for the purpose of deceiving someone or deriving some benefit.
On the other hand, the ingredients for quackery are:
a. That the defendant engaged in the practice of the profession; and
b. That the defendant was not qualified to practice the profession The court in weighing the ingredients listed above held that the prosecution was unable to provide cogent, credible and convincing evidence to cast doubts in the mind of the court on the innocence of the Defendants. Accordingly, having failed to establish the guilt of the Defendants beyond reasonable doubt on the charges of personation and quackery, the court was left with no option than to hold that the charges failed, and the defendants were therefore discharged and acquitted.
IMPLICATIONS OF THE JUDGEMENT
From the foregoing. MLSCN wishes to state as follows:
1. The judgement has no adverse implications on the mandate of MLSCN to regulate the practice of the medical laboratory science profession and conduct periodic inspection of all medical laboratories in the country irrespective of the ownership .
2. The judgement of the court is strictly against Orim Augustine and Andiabu Dennis ONLY wherein the cause of action was personation, unlawful practice of medical laboratory science and quackery. It is never a general binding decision applicable to all Science Laboratory Technologists across the country
3. It does not confer on the Science Laboratory Technologists the rights to engage in the practice of Medical Laboratory Science as defined in Section 29 of the MLSCN Act and any other extant legal documents that uphold the scope of practice of the medical labora- tory science profession.
4. It does not foreclose MLSCN from proceeding against anyone practising the medical laboratory science profession when he is not licensed to do so or where it is suspected that medical laboratory services are conducted in the said facility.
IMPLICATIONS OF THE JUDGMENT DELIVERED BY HIS LORDSHIP, HON. JUSTICE S. A. AMOBEDA ON THE 19TH DAY OF JUNE, 2023 IN CHARGE NO: FHC/CA/19C/2020 BETWEEN THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AND ORIM AUGUSTINE ILAH AND ANDIABU DENNIS