The Faculty of Clinical Sciences Students’ Association and the Law Students’ Society of Osun State University organised a program tagged UNIOSUN Medicolegal Conference on Wednesday 15th June 2022 at the Osun State University College of Health Sciences, Isale-Osun, Osogbo. The conference, titled: ‘Paternity Fraud and the Compensation for Misattributed Paternity’ featured experts from Obafemi Awolowo University and Osun State University who discussed paternity fraud in Nigeria.
The UNIOSUN Medicolegal Conference is the first event of its kind in the history of Osun State University. It is aimed at fostering development and promoting collaboration between students of the Colleges of Health Sciences and Law. The conference provided students of the College of Health Sciences and their Law counterparts the platform to discuss topical and trending issues as it relates to the medical and law fields with experienced thought-leaders, industry leaders and bigwigs of the Nigerian legal and health sector. The conference also highlighted the necessary discourse around the future of the medical and law professions.
The Conference aimed to proffer solutions to the numerous challenges plaguing the medical and law sector by putting actionable steps forward for both government and non-governmental organisations. It brought together the finest medical and legal giants in their respective fields of expertise to connect, engage, develop and share ideas with passionate and energetic youths and students on the topic of the conference. These topics covered the trajectory of common health and legal issues, their adverse effect on the teeming youth population as well as the nation as a whole, and how to ameliorate these issues.
Taiwo Fatola, the FACSSA President, in his opening remarks. noted that the purpose of the conference was to foster interdisciplinary relationships between the Medical and Law students of the University. He also noted that the major goal of the conference was to create a podium where students of different fields can liaise and educate each other on common problems that society faces. The President of the Law Students’ Society, Oluwatosin Olaniran, in his welcome address, said the UNIOSUN Medicolegal Conference is an initiative that has come to stay as the program will be used as an avenue to promote and sustain cordial relationships between the medical and law students of the University.
Professor Victor Mabayoje of the Department of Haematology at Osun State University was the keynote speaker for this event. In his keynote speech, Mabayoje started his address by going down the history of the discovery of Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) by Watson and Crick in 1953. He noted that Watson and Crick received a Nobel prize for the analysis and research of DNA and were celebrated for 69 years, but it was actually a British woman, Rosalind Franklin who discovered the molecular structure of DNA and its sugar-phosphate backbone. He also added that paternity tests do not necessarily define fatherhood, only the biological origin of the child.
Professor Akorede Yusuff and Dr Rahman Bolarinwa of the Departments of Public Law and Haematology respectively of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife were the panellists at the event. When asked about the common misconceptions people have about Paternity tests, Dr Bolarinwa said: “A lot of people believe that a paternity test should only be done after birth which is not compulsory. Prenatal diagnosis can be done if necessary. People also believe that the paternity test is painful, which is not true. Test samples are obtained by using buccal swabs (cotton wool to rub the wall of the mouth). This is completely painless and can even be done on a baby.”
On whether paternity fraud is a breach of law or morals, the legal expert, Professor Yusuff said it can generally be said that a paternity test is a breach of morals but not necessarily a breach of the law because it depends on the jurisdiction, circumstance and other conditions. For example in the southwestern region of Nigeria, adultery is not considered a crime under the law but it is considered a crime in the northwestern region of Nigeria.
The Provost of the College of Health Sciences of UNIOSUN, Professor Christopher Alebiosu, in his address, lauded the initiative of the students’ associations trying to promote an interdisciplinary relationship between the medical and legal fields. He noted that the medical and legal practitioners do not tend to agree due to some sort of supremacy rift, but that programs like this will help to alleviate this as it will promote cooperation between practitioners in both fields.
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