Obasanjo Urges Swift Legislative Action To Combat Organ Trafficking

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has called for the implementation of a new law to combat the rising menace of organ harvesting and trafficking in Nigeria.

 Speaking at the 36th Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference of the National Association of Nephrology, Obasanjo stressed the urgency of legislative support to address the alarming issue.

Expressing concern over the emerging problem of organ trafficking, Obasanjo urged relevant agencies to examine existing laws, especially those related to cadaveric donations, taking into account the country’s cultural and societal idiosyncrasies. 

He emphasized the need to regulate organ harvesting from living donors.

Acknowledging the association’s efforts in advocacy, screening, and collaborations to reduce kidney disease prevalence, Obasanjo highlighted the grim statistics: 15% of adult Nigerians are reported to suffer from irreversible kidney failure. 

The prevalence in Africa, he noted, is significantly higher than anywhere else globally.

Obasanjo attributed the causes of kidney failure to factors such as hypertension, diabetes, kidney infections, genetics, herbal medication misuse, and chronic analgesic abuse. 

He called attention to the role of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in providing limited support for dialysis sessions, suggesting an increase in capacity similar to South Africa and Sudan.

In addressing the challenges of kidney disease management, Obasanjo advocated for heightened awareness, improved health infrastructure, and early detection.

Meanwhile, the global impact of organ trafficking was highlighted with a recent court sentencing in the United Kingdom. Former Deputy Senate President of Nigeria, Ike Ekweremadu, received a nine-year and eight-month prison sentence for involvement in an organ trafficking plot. 

His wife, Beatrice, was sentenced to four years six months, and the ‘middleman,’ Dr. Obinna Obeta, received a 10-year sentence, along with a suspension of his medical license.

Earlier reports from March 2023 revealed that the trio conspired to exploit a 21-year-old Lagos street trader for his kidney, falsely presenting him as a relative in an attempt to secure a private procedure in London.

In a separate incident in September 2023, the Plateau State Police Command arrested two medical doctors linked to the alleged harvesting of vital human organs by a suspected fake doctor, Noah Kekere.

 The arrest followed accusations that Kekere harvested a woman’s kidney during surgery.

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