Organ Theft: How Nigerians Abroad Risk Losing Their Kidneys To Criminal Syndicates

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Hundreds of Nigerian youths living in Diaspora have left the shores of Nigeria seeking greener pastures in Malaysia, Singapore, India and recently Italy. But they seem to be ‘dining’ with the devil, all in a bid to survive crunchy and hard economic situations facing them. To many of them, they are ready to ‘confront whatever odds, even if it means they will eventually live on one kidney after they might have sold off one of their kidneys in a surgical operation.

According to records, In Malaysia alone, there are about 2,500 cases of kidney failure yearly while in China about 1.5 million people are reportedly in need of organ transplants. Reports further reveal that only 10,000 were performed yearly, thus fueling an illegal trade in organs. This is pretty much the same situation in Italy.

Most Nigerian youths have increasingly began to fancy this line of business, not minding the accompanying risk as long as they can clinch a deal of around 6-10 million naira or even more for selling their kidney.

As ugly as this may seem, at least these people give their consent and also financially benefit from transacting their kidneys. Another ugly and, perhaps, most painful of this scenario, is where one’s kidney is stolen in a concealed manner, without consent and without any benefit whatsoever. Many who hear it easily conclude that the victim sold it and perhaps have also squandered the proceeds. This brings us to a story of one of the victims of these organ syndicates, Madam Julie Osamese Ihdehyen.

LEADERSHIP Weekend gathered recently from Timothy Chuck Nwakanwa, a citizen of Nigeria who resides in Italy and happens to play the part of a ‘Good Samaritan’ or a brother’s keeper in Italy when he learnt through Brekete Family Radio online of the predicament of one Mrs Julie Osamese Ihdehyen in Torino Italy. Madam Julie is an indigene of Edo State, presently in pains due to her stolen kidney.

Nwakanwa said, “Seeing the way Nigerians back home worry about the incidence, I got Madam Julie’s number from Brekete Online Radio streaming, though I had my doubt that such a thing couldn’t happen without the knowledge or contribution of the Nigerian community or Embassy in Italy. I was convinced when I called Julie myself; she was so full of pains the way she spoke-I promised to come and see her in Torino a city, 3 hour drive from where I stay in Italy.

“Because of the nature of my Work, I hardly find time but I had to explain the situation to my Boss Mr. Girolomo Momor, he understood and granted me the excuse I needed and also attached and Italian Coworker to accompany me to see Julie. Finally when we got to meet with Madam Julie we saw things for ourselves. She was paralyzed and lying in a very critical condition without help either from within Italy or from Nigerian Embassy in Italy.

“Her predicament was out of a complication that arouse because of the lesser procedure her assailants performed on her backside, at the point where her Kidney was being stolen. One could visibly see some of her internal bones from the cavity that was opened; her buttocks were virtually decaying while she yet lived”.

When our correspondent had the opportunity to learn firsthand of what really happened to Madam Julie, this is what she said: “I am in Italy as a lawful Nigerian. Sometime in 2008, I got sick; the sickness was just a fever. This made me to go to Amideos Avoya hospital for a check-up. On getting to the hospital in Torino, I was told that it was a minor fever.

“In 2009, I was admitted in the same hospital and was told I had Urinary Tract Infection which needed treatment in a different hospital. On the first night at the Sejuale Bosko hospital where I was referred for further treatment, “I took the drugs given to me, after they conducted a test; I received the test result and went home with the drugs.

“After taking the drugs for one week, I came back to report how I was feeling and on the day in question, I was asked whether I came alone,  and I said yes innocently without knowing why I was being asked the question. I was given a room to rest; they said they want to give me an injection that will lead to the completion of the healing process. That marked the beginning of my paralysis.

“I was asked to lie down. Within two to three minutes, I was approached with a mixture in a cup and I drank it, believing that was to help me too, I became dizzy but when I complained I was told not to worry. Suddenly, they laid me down and a team of doctors came around and tied my legs and hands to the bed. That was when I started shouting, why are you tying me?”.

She added: “One of the doctors responded, saying ‘if you like shout at top of your voice, nobody will know what is happening here.’ That was how they laid my face down and gave me an injection on my base bone- and I passed out. When I finally came up, I saw the lower part of my buttocks opened to where the bones were cracked and pieces of bone were fallen from there.

“My bladder was also disengaged from the source and I was passing out urine uncontrollably, in order to completely silent me, I was placed in a mental hospital”.

Through all this pains, Madam Julie made one request that her only son from Edo state be brought to see her. From the home front, LEADERSHIP Weekend gathered that the House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora Matters has vowed to take legal action against the Italian government and the Nigerian Embassy in Italy over the disappearance of the kidney of the Nigerian resident (Madam Julie) in Torino, Italy, after visiting a hospital with complaints of fever.

The House Committee, chaired by Rita Orji, representing Ajeromi Ifelodun Constituency of Lagos State, also frowned on the attitude of Nigerian government towards the welfare of Nigerians living abroad and called for a change of attitude by the government.

Ahmed Musa (ordinary Ahmed) of Brekete family was bitter about drew a line of comparison between the way Nigerian government treats her citizen and for instance the Moroccan government, recalling recent report that “A Moroccan died in Italy, and it was the king of Morocco that came to verify the fact leading to the death of the woman. It is so important and critical that they value the lives of their citizens. When investigations were thoroughly done that the woman died a natural death they took the corpse home.

“Today, how many Nigerians are being dropped into the sea?  How many of them are being buried without the consent of their families?  How many of them are subjected to this inhuman treatment as meted out on Madam Julie?”, he said.

Iyke Ezeugo, a Brekete Family Consultant has raised a petition to call for diplomatic intervention in respect to an allegation of stolen kidney and attempted murder of Mrs Julie Osamese Ihdehyen in Italy.

Mr Timothy concluded by calling on all well meaning Nigerian people and government to come to the support of Mrs Julie Osamese Ihdehyen to get back on her feet again after herordeal that left her bedridden in an hospital in Italy.

On a more general note, it has become necessary due to the increasing rate of Kidney theft, for Nigerians in Diaspora or visiting citizens traveling abroad to trade cautiously when they are outside the country, especially in countries where such incidences have been reported.


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