Court Bars Abuja Hospital Managing Director Accused Of Organ Harvesting, From Foreign Travel

The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court sitting in Zuba, Abuja, has prohibited Dr. Christopher Otabor, the Managing Director of Alliance Hospital, from leaving Nigeria amid ongoing legal proceedings.

 Dr. Otabor is accused of involvement in an organ harvesting scheme, along with three of his staff members.

In March, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) arraigned the 51-year-old Otabor, along with Emmanuel Muyiwa Olorunlaye, Chikaodili Ugochukwu, and Dr. Aremu Abayomi. 

They face an 11-count charge that includes the procurement and accommodation of persons, and performing surgical operations to harvest kidneys from three victims: 17-year-old Adebayo Salaudeen Saliman, 17-year-old Yahaya Musa, and 25-year-old Aminu Yahuza.

These charges are in violation of Section 20(2)(a) of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act, 2015, which prescribes severe penalties under Section 20(2)(b) of the same Act.

Justice Keziah Ogbonnaya, who presides over the case, initially granted bail to the defendants on two conditions: they must report daily to NAPTIP headquarters in Abuja and surrender their travel documents to the court. 

Despite complying with these conditions, Dr. Otabor’s counsel, Afam Osigwe (SAN), sought a variation to allow Otabor to retrieve his passport, apply for a Polish visa, and travel to Warsaw, Poland, purportedly to visit his ill son studying at a medical university there.

Osigwe argued that Otabor had consistently adhered to the bail conditions and had not interfered with the judicial process.

 He emphasized Otabor’s responsibilities as the Chief Medical Director of Alliance Hospital, underscoring the improbability of him jumping bail.

The prosecution, led by NAPTIP’s Director of Legal and Prosecution Department, Mr. Hassan Hamis Tahir, strongly opposed the application. 

Tahir contended that Otabor’s application was baseless, noting the absence of evidence supporting his son’s illness or any specific details about the hospital in Poland.

He argued that permitting Otabor to travel abroad without solid guarantees would effectively undermine the security of his bail.

Justice Ogbonnaya  stressed that the case at hand is criminal, involving serious allegations of organ trafficking. 

The judge noted the lack of documentation regarding Otabor’s son’s medical condition and the absence of a proposed surety or alternative security.

Justice Ogbonnaya highlighted the court’s responsibility to uphold justice, stating that granting Otabor’s request without sufficient evidence would compromise the judicial process. 

She pointed out that the defense has yet to commence its case, and a hearing on their no-case submission is scheduled for July 2.

The judge dismissed the application for bail variation, declaring it meritless and not in the interest of justice.

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