The Federal Government has assured that medical practitioners and others involved in kidney trafficking would face the full wrath of the law.
A three-month investigation by Daily Trust, 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 report, published earlier this month, had also 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.
Many 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.
Ms Patricia Deworitshe, the Director, Media and Public Relations, Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, gave the assurance in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja.
According to her, the assurance is in reaction to a media report on kidney trafficking in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
She said “The ministry condemns in totality such barbaric inhuman criminal practice of kidney trafficking revealed in the said report.
“We acknowledge the pain of those affected and wish to let the public know that the National Health Act (NHA) 2014 sections 51-56 prohibit such illegality.
“Persons who contravene or fail to comply with the provisions of the sections commit an offence and are liable on conviction or a fine of N1 million or imprisonment of not less than two years or both.
“It is pertinent to note that both the sellers and buyers of this illegal trade, as well as the medical practitioners and facilities where this criminal act is being performed, will face the full wrath of the law.”
She, however, said that the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) was looking into allegations leveled against medical practitioners engaged in such activities.
Deworitshe added that the donation of kidneys should be on the informed consent of the donor, done based on medical advice with privileged information about the process to save lives.
She reiterated that “while the Federal Ministry of Health remains committed to improving regulatory standards and practices to enhance effective and efficient healthcare system in line with the renewed hope agenda, the public is hereby advised not to engage in such illegal practice.
“The public should contact the Federal Ministry of Health on 08033228978 for any information that can lead to arrest of such perpetrators.”