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Shocking Wave Of Organ Harvesting
Published Mar 23, 2023 IN Editorial,
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THE gruesome wave of organ harvesting and use of human body parts for ritual purposes, including offences related to child trafficking, leaves much to be desired about the moral fabric of the present Nigerian Society, wherein it is scarcely surprising to hear of such cases almost on a daily basis, across the economic divide, from the lowly to the high and mighty, such that a solution is badly needed, notably efforts at moral re-armament and removing all legal provisions that have been discovered to provide cover for perpetrators. 

Specifically, Chairman, Global Prolife Alliance (GPA), Prof. Philip Njemanze, revealed that the National Health Act 2014 permits human organ poaching without consent in Nigeria. So, the implication is that millions of Nigerians may die from legalised organ poaching without consent unless something urgent is done to amend the Act. The greatest culprits are sections 13, 20, 43, 45, 48, 51, 53 and 58 of the National Health Act 2014. So, the National Assembly is already inundated with strident calls to amend the National Health Act 2014, also considering the national security implications if the Act is not amended, notably to prevent mass harvesting of human organs and for those in the baby trade, there is the poaching of ovarian eggs. 

We warn that paying lip service to the proposed amendments will only facilitate the operations of International Organized Criminal Cartel on Human Organ and Ovarian Egg Trafficking. It is even alleged that there could be foreign sponsors, who would possibly make the proposed amendments difficult to accomplish, unless the National Assembly is really wary of the dangers inherent in the dastardly act. We do know that the British Embroyology Law permits using human eggs from Africa and those of animals, while banning the use of human eggs from Europe and America. 

So, it has been estimated that, at least, 100 million ovarian eggs poached from 10 million Nigerian women would be required annually for about five years. These Nigerian women will die shortly thereafter from complications of Ovarian Hyper-stimulation Syndrome as a result of the multiple hormonal injections that stimulate the ovaries given, mostly at IVF Clinics. It is curious, therefore, that IVF centres are said to be proliferating under the said sponsorship of foreign owners using Nigerians as fronts for ovarian egg harvesting. 

But then, the thriving business is in clear violation of the National Health Act. Section 53(1) of the Act makes it an offence for a person who has donated tissue, blood or a blood product to receive any form of financial or other rewards for such donation, except as re-imbursement of reasonable costs incurred to carry out the donation. The law even prescribes a jail term of not less than one year or a fine of about $2,400. Yet, there continues to exist a black market or underground/illegal dealings in organ donation, harvesting and transplantation. We discover that it is sustained by an identified lack of regulation and enforcement of medical ethics, poverty, inequality and unconscionable medical practitioners who are mostly the facilitators. 

Our informed position is for a central co-ordination of organ transplantation similar to the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), as well as direct investment, funding and legal framework for transplantation in Nigeria. As for the black market, which also involves use of human parts for ritual purposes, as well as human trafficking, it has long been suspected that this is fed by misguided persons who operate as individuals or criminal cartels via underground networks. 

So, the greatest chance for security agencies in smoking out the perpetrators is to perfect the act of sting operations as it is done in other climes. Faith-based organisations (FBOs) should not be pre-occupied with their religious observances, but make raging moral issues such as this the focal point of their admonition to their members, while taking the socialisation process more seriously. Indeed, the country cannot but resort to a soul-searching, if it must save itself from these heinous crimes.

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