By Ruth Tene Natsa, Abuja
As Nigerians rise to the awareness of human organ harvesting, the National Agency for The Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has cried out against the increasing trend which is fast becoming a booming business on a global scale.
Director General of the Agency, Dame Julie Okah Donli raised the alarm while briefing News men in Abuja Wednesday .
According to the DG “A few issues that are agitating our minds in recent times and we need to draw the attention of Nigerians to are organ harvesting, the vulnerability of the North East to human trafficking which may eventually lead to terrorism, as well as the plans by traffickers to as usual use the yuletide season to recruit new victims especially, in the south East and the South-south of the country who will eventually be sold as slaves in Libya enroute Europe
She said “In recent months we have raised the issue of illegal harvesting of organs as a new dimension in human trafficking. Organ harvesting has been tied to human trafficking and has become a booming business in the 21st C on a global scale”
The DG who noted that trafficking for sexual and labour purposes seemed no longer a quick money making venture for the traffickers who are not ready to wait years for their investments to yield desired results have now found a quicker one in the illegal harvesting of organs of unsuspecting victims who are lured with various tricks
She said “some victims are informed that their organs will be taken for a fee and they will also be taken care of, but as soon as the organs are taken, the victims are sutured back and the money promised not given, while victim is left to die if they decide to take every organ”
The DG said that “In fact some family members of sick people who get tired of being on the waiting lists for organ transplant sometimes resort to buying organs from the black market,. She queried if they knew where the organs where coming from and if the donors gave up their organs willingly or tricked.
Dame Okah-Donli lamented that” it is unfortunate that in our bid to save our lives or the lives of our loved ones, we have lost our humanity.
The DG directed the investigation department to liaise with the Nigerian Police Force anytime there is a reported case of ritual murder to ensure that it is not a case of illegal harvesting of organs and also called on members of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) to do a soul search concerning their members involvement in such dastard activities as she noted that this is because “We are aware that removing of organs for transplant can only be done professionals in the medical profession.
“We plan to engage them and the federal ministry of health to ensure we treat this matter appropriately here at home and in unity work against illegal harvesting of organs of Nigerians anywhere in Nigeria” she assured
On the vulnerability of the North-east, the DG called for all hands to be on deck to save the zone particularly at the yuletide “IDP camps need to be fortified and movement in and out of the camps should be adequately monitored in order to prevent the camps being turned into a fertile ground where human traffickers can harvest victims” she said
Recalling her vision of presenting a specialized Crime fighting Agency that will be foremost in the suppression and elimination of trafficking in persons she said” I still stand by that and I am proud to inform you that we have made efforts towards achieving these goals
On their efforts, she said “We have continued to engage the public with specific anti trafficking messages, recorded immense success in our investigations through the timely and efficient response of the newly inaugurated Rapid Response Squad and intensified our efforts at prosecution and protection of the victims of this heinous crime”
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