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After Daily Trust’s report, FG goes after kidney traders

The Federal Government has expressed concern over the activities of kidney traders around the Federal Capital Territory which a three-month investigation by Daily Trust revealed.…

The Federal Government has expressed concern over the activities of kidney traders around the Federal Capital Territory which a three-month investigation by Daily Trust revealed.

The investigation headlined “Inside Abuja’s kidney ‘market’ where the rich prey on the poor” had exposed a shadow economy of illegal kidney trade in which kidney brokers work with local agents to target and lure young men from low economic backgrounds to sell their kidneys.

The exclusive report, which was published Sunday, had equally exposed the role of private hospitals within the FCT in clandestine operations that involved the surgical removal of kidneys from minors in exchange for N1m.

Several Nigerians, on the social media, have commented on the report, expressed concern and demanded that the Federal Government arrest those exposed in the illegal trade.

Reacting to the report yesterday, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Muhammad Ali Pate, said the Ministry of Health had slated significant resources in the proposed 2024 budget that would enhance regulations and curb the criminality experienced by Nigerians.

Pate said the Daily Trust’s investigation had revealed “the depth of depravity and criminality prevalent in sections of our society. We acknowledge and feel the pain experienced by those affected by such ignoble acts of criminality.”

“To be clear, there is a sound policy and legal framework that enables regulation of health practice in Nigeria, including medically necessary transplantation. The NHA (2014) sections 51-56 clearly prohibits the illegality uncovered by the journalists,” he said.

Pate said the central issues are on the enforcement practices and evasion of such legal and regulatory guidelines by unpatriotic criminal elements which, he said, are similar in some ways to many other acts of criminality in society.

He said to enhance effectiveness of government in regulating practices, in line with the government’s renewed hope agenda, the ministry had, four weeks, ago inaugurated the Tertiary Hospitals Care Standards Committee “and is making it functional.”

He said the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria was also gearing up to enforce standards to be followed by medical professionals in Nigeria. The minister, however, noted that regulation of hospitals relies on state governments, which, he said, “we expect will also step up to ensure such facilities in their domains, as found by the journalists, are properly checked.”

“We appreciate journalists conducting their work, unbiased and without sensationalism. At the end of the day, it is all of us, as Nigerian people that will make this country better. In our Ministry Dr Tunji Alausa and I, along with all our colleagues, are committed to improving our effectiveness and efficiency in the exercise of the mandate granted by Mr President,” he said.

The report followed an earlier one published by Daily Trust on August 19, 2023 which exposed how an Abuja-based health facility, Alliance Hospital, harvested the kidney of a 16-year-old, Oluwatobi Adedoyin, who was said to have been lured to sell his kidney by an agent.

That report, which had led the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons to launch an investigation into kidney harvesting, won the print category of this year’s Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism Awards on Saturday.

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