Hospital staff confesses in organ harvesting case

…as NAPTIP officer testifies…

By Innocent Raphael 

An investigative officer from the National Agency for the Prosecution of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) revealed to an FCT High Court that staff members of Alliance Hospital located in Abuja made confessional statements in a case involving illegal organ harvesting.

Testifying on Tuesday, Liman Yusuf Shehu served as the eighth prosecution witness in the trial against four Alliance Hospital and Services Ltd staffers. 

The accused, Dr Christopher Otabor, Emmanuel Muyiwa Olorunlaye, Chikaodili Ugochukwu, and Dr Aremu Abayomi, face an 11-count charge relating to illegal organ harvesting.

The case was brought to light following an investigation by Daily Trust, which uncovered organ trading activities in parts of Abuja and Nasarawa State through interviews with victims.

Led by prosecution counsel Hassan Tahir Esq, Shehu recounted how he took statements from victims Oluwatobi Salman Salaudeen, Musa Yahaya, and Aminu Yahuza, along with their parents and the defendants, after a report was filed in Abuja in 2023. 

The testimonies from the defendants—Olorunlaye, Ugochukwu, and Abayomi—confirmed that the victims had their kidneys removed at the hospital.

Shehu further disclosed that Olorunlaye admitted receiving N3 million from Ugochukwu for the “donors.” Additionally, N500,000 was traced to an account belonging to Akande Lanre, who allegedly facilitated the purchase of a phone for one of the victims, Oluwatobi.

The transaction details revealed that N290,000 was spent on the phone, with the remaining N210,000 transferred to Oluwatobi.

Akande, who had testified earlier, stated that his bank account was used for these transactions, leading to his arrest in Kano.

However, defence attorneys Afam Osigwe (SAN) and Richard Adepoju Esq challenged the admissibility of the confessional statements, arguing they were not obtained voluntarily and without legal representation, as required by the Evidence Act, 2011.

Justice Kezziah Ogbonnaya ruled that the evidence was relevant and stated that the word “may” in the act suggests it is not mandatory for statements to be taken in the presence of a lawyer or other representatives.

During cross-examination, Shehu admitted he could not contradict Ugochukwu and Abayomi’s denials of any links with Olorunlaye through bank statements or call logs. He also conceded that no evidence was found to directly connect Ugochukwu, Abayomi, and Otabor to sourcing organ donors.

Following the prosecution’s case conclusion, the defence announced plans to file a no-case submission within 14 days, to which the prosecution will respond.

Justice Ogbonnaya scheduled a hearing for July 2 on this submission and set May 22 for Dr Otabor’s application to have his international passport returned, citing the need to attend to his son studying abroad.

Back to top button