Home VOL 5 | 2019 Euthanasia, Murder Or Mercy: Examining The Right To Die Under The Nigerian...

Euthanasia, Murder Or Mercy: Examining The Right To Die Under The Nigerian Constitution By Patricia Izuka Tom, Dauda Momodu

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Abstract

At the mention of death an avalanche of human emotions are educed and the air of conservativeness surrounding death compels an instinctive reluctance to dwell on the subject. But to speak of death as ‘a right’ bespeaks an abnormality for which views of highly volatile and controversial nature have been expressed on the parlance of legal, ethical, religious and pragmatic considerations. The concept of death by consent has been viewed differently in various jurisdictions, but these views are informed by atypical contexts peculiar to each jurisdiction. What is clear is that most jurisdictions around the globe maintain a conservative standpoint on the question of the right to die. This work, through a doctrinal methodology, examined the concept of death by consent (euthanasia) and its historical antecedents. A deeper analysis of the Nigerian context was done and it was suggested that legalizing euthanasia in Nigeria will open a floodgate of significant unintended consequences for which it is considered imprudent to give constitutional backing to euthanasia in Nigeria.

 Keywords: Euthanasia, Constitution, Right to Die, Consent.

 

Introduction

On the 12th of March, 2003, a Conservative front bench member of the UK House of Lords, Frederick Howe, shared a story of a friend whose mother had a massive stroke and apparently could not move or communicate in any way. The doctors declared that she was in a Persistent Vegetative State (PVS) and recommended withdrawal of all fluids and nutrition so the patient was euthanized. His friend, dubious about the doctors’ recommendation, refused that option and spent hours talking to her mother and soon realized from blinks and slight movements of her eyes that her mother could not only understand every word that was said but also was rational and could also communicate by means of blinks.

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