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Alliance Hospital: I didn’t discuss kidney donation with staff – Public Interest Observer



Alliance Hospital: I didn't discuss kidney donation with staff – Public Interest Observer
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A public-interest advocate observing an organ transplant trial in Abuja, Muhammed Suleman, says three prosecution witnesses admitted before Justice Kezziah Ogbonnaya of the Federal High Court in Abuja that no staff member of Abuja-based Alliance Hospital discussed the donation of their kidneys with them at any point in time.

Suleman, in a statement, said he has attended all the court sessions since the suspects were arraigned by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and the hearing which took place from May 6 to May 9, 2024 before the trial judge adjourned hearing to May 21, 2024.

The social observer said during the four-day hearing, six prosecution witnesses brought by NAPTIP testified and were cross-examined in the trial of four staff members of the hospital – Dr. Christopher Otabor, Emmanuel Olorunlaye, Chikaodili Ugochukwu and Dr. Aremu Abayomi; in an 11-count bordering on illegal organ harvesting.

He said, “The key witnesses fumbled several times upon cross-examination by the defence counsel. It got so bad that twice in the four days of hearing, on Tuesday, 7th and Wednesday, 8th May, during the cross-examination of prosecution witness two and three respectively, the judge spoke in Pidgin English in utter disappointment and said ‘NAPTIP, una see una self?’.

“All three kidney donors, Oluwatobi Saliman (Prosecution witness 1), Musa Yahaya (Prosecution witness 2) and Yahuza Aminu (Prosecution witness 3) admitted upon cross-examination by defence counsel, Afam Osigwe, SAN, that they did not at any time discuss the sale of their kidney with any staff of Alliance Hospital and that they were not offered any money by any staff of the hospital.

“Particularly note-worthy is the fact that all the prosecution witnesses so far presented said they never met the Medical Director of Alliance Hospital (Dr. Christopher Otabor) until they saw him at the Police Station when he came to bail his staff that were arrested by the police several months after their organ surgery.

“The three donors also informed the court that their bargain on the organ sale was with one Abdulrahman and Mayor (the first defendant) and the bargain was outside of Alliance Hospital. They were all paid after the surgery, largely by money transfer from the agents after they were discharged from the hospital.

“My independent observation shows that the initial story line of the donors followed a particular pattern that portrayed them as ignorant little kids who were lured and or forced to undergo surgery for removal of their kidneys. However, following cross-examination and confrontation with documents from the defence counsel which the court accepted as exhibits, it was revealed that there was actually a bargain and agreement of terms between the boys and the agents even before they came to Alliance Hospital.

“The defence counsel got permission from the judge to present two documents to each of the three donors: (i) The informed consent form which was duly signed by the donors and (ii) The court affidavit which was carrying their photographs and signatures.

“All the boys stated in their affidavit that they were above 18 years old and that they were donating willingly to their relatives without any financial inducement.

“The judge asked them if they signed the documents. The first two witnesses said yes, but asserted that the content was not explained to them while the 3rd witness denied every document presented to him including the witness statement he thumbprinted on and signed at NAPTIP. Nevertheless, the documents were bearing his pictures and they all had similar signatures.”


Hearing was subsequently adjourned to Tuesday, 21st May, 2024.

Meanwhile, civil society organisation, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has expressed concerns over the plot by some people to malign Alliance Hospital and its Medical Director, Dr. Christopher Otabor, in the ongoing trial.

In a press statement, HURIWA noted that since the trial’s inception, some Fifth Columnists have consistently painted the hospital as a den of criminal activity, disregarding the principle enshrined in Section 36(5) of the Nigerian Constitution, which presumes every individual innocent until proven guilty by a competent court.

“Dr. Otabor has shared his side of the story, emphasizing that the kidney donor, Oluwatobi Saliman, presented an affidavit confirming he was above 18 years old and, thus, legally competent to consent to the organ donation. The transaction was facilitated by a third party who brought the donor to the hospital for the procedure, and Alliance Hospital acted within the legal and ethical boundaries of medical practice.

“Despite these facts, the court proceedings have been misrepresented to suggest a nefarious operation within the hospital. The misleading reports by these media outlets seem to ignore due process of law and the cross-examinations that have revealed significant discrepancies in the prosecution witnesses’ testimonies.”

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