Alleged Organ Harvesting: NAPTIP Arraigns Hospital, Four Others

The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has arraigned one Christopher Otabor, medical director of Alliance Hospital, Abuja, over allegations of organ harvesting.

Otabor was arraigned on Monday alongside Emmanuel Olorunlaye, Chikaodili Ugochukwu, an administrative secretary at the hospital, and Aremu Abayomi, a surgeon, before a federal capital territory (FCT) high court sitting in Zuba.

Hassan Tahir, prosecution counsel, alleged that Olorunlaye procured two 17-year-old boys and a 25-year-old man, Aminu Yahuza, for the removal of their kidneys at the Alliance Hospital, situated at Garki Area 11, Abuja, sometime in February 2023.

The prosecution counsel further alleged that Otabor accommodated the victims at the hospital for the removal of their organs while Abayomi performed the operations.

Tahir said Ugochukwu assisted in the removal of the kidneys.

The offence, he said contravened the provisions of sections 20(2)(a)(3) of the trafficking in persons (prohibition) enforcement and administration Act, 2015 and punishable under the same section(2)(b).

However, the defendants pleaded not guilty to the 11-count charge.

Richard Adeboju, counsel to Olorunlaye, moved a motion for his client’s bail.

Afam Osigwe, counsel to the other defendants, also prayed the court to admit his clients to bail.

”Otabor is on bail earlier granted by Justice Hamza Muazu and I urged the court to grant same. The defendants are responsible persons who run businesses and families and have been diligently honouring NAPTIP’s invitation,” Osigwe told the court.

He urged the court to adopt the same administrative bail conditions that were granted to the defendants by NAPTIP.

Although the prosecution counsel did not oppose the bail application, he applied for an accelerated hearing of the matter.

He also said the court may impose its conditions and does not have to be the same for bail given by NAPTIP.

Delivering a ruling, Kezziah Ogbonnaya, the presiding judge, held that administrative bail fizzles out upon arraignment and cannot determine the court’s bail conditions.

Ogbonnaya ordered the defendants to sign a register daily at the NAPTIP headquarters, starting from March 19, except the day of the hearing in court.

She also asked the defendants to deposit their travel documents with the court registrar and warned them to adhere to the order or risk their bail being revoked.

The judge then fixed May 6, 9 and 13 for continuation of the matter and ordered an accelerated hearing.

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