Buhari signs Mental Health Bill into law

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President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the harmonised Mental Health Bill into law.

The Bill, which was harmonised by National Assembly in 2021, is expected to replace the Lunacy act of 1958.

This was confirmed by the President of the Association of Psychiatrists of Nigeria, Taiwo Obindo, who described the development as a great relief to the mental health care and practice in the country.

According to Obindo, “A final culmination to over two decades of several efforts by the Association of Psychiatrists of Nigeria now has an Act/Law on Mental Health governance and we are now part of the global space with best global practice.”

Also reacting to the development, a former president of the association, Taiwo Shiekh, thanked God for the signing of the Mental Health Bill has been signed into law by the President.

While commending key players in the process, Shiekh said, “Our profound gratitude to Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe, Senator Ahmad Abubakar, Ibrahim Gambari, CBM International, Johnson & Johnson, and all our partners. After several attempts, by His Grace, we finally reached the milestone.”

With the new law, the Lunacy Act of 1958 which practitioners condemn as outdated and inhumane, will cease to be effective.

The establishment of a Department of Mental Health Services in the Federal Ministry of Health and a Mental Health Fund are some of the provisions of the National Mental Health Bill.

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