Kidney harvesting: Trial stalled as NAPTIP, witnesses develop cold feet


In yet another dramatic turn of events at the FCT High Court in Zuba, the trial of alleged organ harvesting at Alliance Hospital faced a setback as key witnesses, including officials from the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), hesitated to testify.

Presiding Judge, Justice Kezziah Ogbonnaya, urged the prosecution counsel to proceed with their witnesses, but only one out of the expected three witnesses was available and ready to testify in court.

Called upon, Mr. Abdullahi Mohammed, the sixth prosecution witness and a phone seller, recounted a peculiar incident involving Oluwatobi Sulaimon, one of the alleged kidney donors and the first prosecution witness. Abdullahi testified that Oluwatobi, who claimed to have received funds from his uncle for the phone, actually received the money from a kidney agent post-surgery, contradicting Oluwatobi’s statement.

Abdullahi informed the court that Mr. Oluwatobi Sulaimon approached him to buy a phone from his shop sometime in February 2023. Oluwatobi picked a phone of N290,000 and requested for an account number to credit.

The phone dealer later got a credit alert of N500,000 which Oluwatobi claimed was from him. When the phone dealer asked why the credit of N500,000 instead of N290,000, Oluwatobi lied and said the money was from his uncle and requested for the excess to be given back to him in cash which Mr. Abdullahi reluctantly obliged.

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The money was actually transferred by a kidney agent in favour of Oluwatobi several days after his surgery and discharge from Alliance hospital further strengthening the position that the transactions between the kidney donor and the agent were done behind and without the knowledge of the hospital and its officials.

Despite the intriguing testimony, neither the prosecution nor the defense questioned Abdullahi further.

As anticipation mounted for the next witness, Mr. Liman Yesufu, a NAPTIP staff and investigator, the lead prosecutor, Mr. Tahir, revealed that Liman was suffering from headaches and not disposed to testify. Liman was later seen cooling off inside the NAPTIP Hiace Bus parked within the court premises.

Observers noted the irony of NAPTIP, previously eager to expedite the case, now appearing to be foot-dragging.

The trial was adjourned to May 21st, 2024, leaving lingering questions about the pace of the proceedings. With tensions high and revelations unfolding, Nigerians await the outcome of this pivotal trial with bated breath and concerns that the prosecutors may be losing steam.

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