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Alliance Hospital MD, 3 others arraigned over alleged organ harvesting

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The Medical Director of Alliance Hospital, Christopher Otabor, and three others were on Monday docked in the Federal Capital Terrritory, FCT, High Court, Zuba, for alleged organ harvesting.

NAN reports that, alongside Otabor, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, also charged Emmanuel Olorunlaye, Chikaodili Ugochukwu and Dr Aremu Abayomi with 11 counts bordering on organ harvesting.

The prosecuting counsel, Hassan Tahir, 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 said hospital located in Area 11, Garki, Abuja, sometime in February 2023.

Tahir said that Ugochukwu, an Administrative Secretary at the hospital, assisted in the removal of the kidneys of the victims in the said hospital.

The prosecution further alleged that Otabor accommodated the victims at Alliance Hospital for the removal of their kidneys while Abayomi, a surgeon at the hospital, performed the operations.

The offence, he said, contravened the provisions of sections 20(2)(a)(3) of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act, 2015.

The defendants however pleaded not guilty.

Mr Richard Adeboju, the counsel to Olorunlaye, moved a motion for bail pursuant to Section 162 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA).

Adeboju’s motion was supported with an 11-paragraph affidavit with a written address. He urged the court to adopt same as his oral submission and grant the application.

Afam Osigwe, SAN, the defence counsel to the other defendants, also urged the court to grant his clients bail.

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

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

The prosecution counsel however did not oppose the bail application but applied for accelerated hearing on the matter.

He cited Section 165 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), noting that the court may impose its own conditions and does not have to go with the same bail conditions given by NAPTIP.

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

Justice Ogbonnaya however ordered the defendants to sign a register on a daily basis at the NAPTIP headquarters, starting from March 19, except the day for hearing in court.

She also ordered the defendants to deposit their travel documents to the court’s registrar and warned the defendants to adhere to the order or risk their bail being revoked.

The judge adjourned the matter for accelerated hearing from May 6 to May 9, after which hearing continues May 13.

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