Court Bars Abuja Hospital MD, Otabor Accused Of Organ Harvesting From Foreign Trips

Date: 24-05-2024 10:21 am (3 weeks ago) | Author: Bayo Nelson
- at 24-05-2024 10:21 AM (3 weeks ago)

The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Zuba, Abuja, has prohibited Dr. Christopher Otabor, the Managing Director of Alliance Hospital in Abuja accused of organ harvesting, from leaving Nigeria until the conclusion of the ongoing case involving him and three of his employees. Recall that the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), had in March arraigned the 51-year-old Otabor, and three other members of his staff, before the FCT High Court presided over by Justice Keziah Ogbonnaya, on a case of organ (Kidney) harvest.

Otabor and the other three defendants including Emmanuel Muyiwa Olorunlaye, Chikaodili Ugochukwu and Dr Aremu Abayomi, were slammed with an 11-count charge bothering on the procurement of persons, accommodation of persons, and performing surgical operations on three victims identified as 17-year-old Adebayo Salaudeen Saliman; 17-year-old Yahaya Musa, and 25-year-old Aminu Yahuza, for the removal of their kidney.

The NAPTIP said that the offences were contrary to Section 20(2)(a) of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act, 2015 and punishable under Section 20(2)(b) of same Act. Ruling on the bail application by counsel to the defendants on the date of their arraignment, Justice Ogbonnaya granted them bail on two conditions.

First, that they are to report daily at NAPTIP Headquarters, Abuja and sign a register to that effect while the second condition was that they will deposit their traveling documents with the Court. Counsel to Otabor who is the 4th defendant in the case, Afam Osigwe (SAN), had filed an application for the court to vary the aforestated bail conditions to enable Otabor to retrieve his passport, apply for a Polish Visa, and travel out of Nigeria to Poland, to see his sick son who is in a Medical University in Warsaw.

Osigwe argued that Otabor had continued to fulfill the bail condition by reporting daily at NAPTIP Headquarters except on dates slated for the Court sittings. He further told the Court that Otabor had not interfered with the proceedings of the court in any manner, hence, the request for the bail variation. The lawyer also submitted to the court that Otabor is the Chief Medical Director of Alliance Hospital, with numerous employees, stressing that he would not jump bail.

However, the prosecution team vehemently opposed the application through its lead counsel, the  Director, Legal and Prosecution Department, NAPTIP, Mr Hassan Hamis Tahir. Tahir submitted to the court that Otabor’s application lacked merit, apart from the fact that the 4th defendant had nothing to show that his son was sick abroad as claimed. The prosecution counsel added that Otabor had not proposed a condition for the variation of his bail condition and also failed to provide a surety to stand for him.

Tahir further argued that granting Otabor a variation that will enable him to travel out of Nigeria is tantamount to releasing him without security for his bail. In her ruling, Justice Ogbonnaya reminded both parties that even though bail is the right of any person, the Court has the exclusive and discretionary power to grant a variation of conditions stipulated for bail. The judge also said that the case at hand is purely a criminal trial and that Otabor is the arrowhead of the Alliance Hospital.

The Judge also pointed out that Otabor has not attached any document to show the nature of the illness of his son nor the name and location of the hospital where he is going to visit his son, adding that the court is not a court of emotions. According to Justice Ogbonnaya, Otabor has not presented any person who can stand in his stead or a bail bond.

The judge asked, “Can it be said that the Court stands on the side of justice if this application for variation of the bail is granted?” She stated that since there was no document to prove that the son was sick and bearing in mind that his International passport deposited in the court was the security for his bail, granting a variation that enabled him to retrieve the passport would amount to setting him free.

The judge further noted that the court was also mindful that the defence had not opened its case as yet and a hearing on a no-case submission advanced by the defence had been fixed for July 2 Dismissing the application for lacking in merit, the judge said, “The court does not feel that granting the application will be in the interest of justice in this case.”

Posted: at 24-05-2024 10:21 AM (3 weeks ago) | Addicted Hero
- fineboy77 at 24-05-2024 10:50 AM (3 weeks ago)
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Posted: at 24-05-2024 10:50 AM (3 weeks ago) | Addicted Hero
- gogoman at 24-05-2024 12:08 PM (3 weeks ago)
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Posted: at 24-05-2024 12:08 PM (3 weeks ago) | Grande Master