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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Alleged organ harvesting: House committee dismisses hospital’s petition

The House of Representatives Committee has dismissed the petition from the management and staff of Alliance Hospital and Services.

The hospital wants to stop the ongoing prosecution by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).

The case involves Dr. Christopher Otabor, CEO of Alliance Hospital, and three others over an alleged organ harvest.

The committee has ordered the defendants to return to court and defend themselves.

NAPTIP had arraigned Dr. Christopher Otabor, Emmanuel Muyiwa Olorunlaye, Chikaodili Ugochukwu, and Dr. Aremu Abayomi before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, sitting at Zuba, for alleged kidney harvesting on March 18, 2024.

The defendants were implicated in varying degrees of culpability for offences related to organ harvesting, as stipulated under section 20 of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act, 2015.

The defendants are currently on bail and have been ordered to report to NAPTIP Headquarters in Abuja daily and surrender their travel documents to the court.

The trial is scheduled to begin on May 6th, 2024.

The medical doctor had sought redress at the National Assembly challenging his detention by the agency during the investigative process through a petition to the House Committee on Public Petitions.

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The committee invited the management of NAPTIP to appear before it on Thursday 18th April, 2024. NAPTIP claims the Alliance Hospital matter is sub judice.

In his brief submission, the Director, Legal and Prosecution Department of NAPTIP, Mr. Hassan Tahir, informed the committee that the matter was sub judice as the case was already pending before a court of competent jurisdiction and all the defendants, including the petitioner, had already taken their plea.

House committee directed Alliance Hospital to return to court to face trial
Ruling on the matter, the Chairman of the Committee, Honourable Mike Etaba, told the complainant to go back to the court and face the charges before him, ultimately dismissing the petition.

Dr. Christopher Otabor is the CEO Alliance Hospital. Dr. Christopher Otabor, a 51-year-old medical practitioner, was previously docked for organ harvesting.

The CEO of Alliance Hospital, along with three other suspects – Emmanuel Muyiwa Olorunlaye (36 years old), Chikaodili Ugochukwu (37 years old), and Dr. Aremu Abayomi (43 years old) – were arraigned before Justice Keziah Ogbonnaya of the FCT High Court in Zuba.

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NAPTIP had charged the four defendants.

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges, and the court granted their bail applications.

The judge also granted the request of counsel for accelerated hearing and set a trial date between May 6th-9th and 13th-16th, 2024.

Theresa Arike
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