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Lagos Assembly moves to criminalise illegal trade in human parts

A bill to criminalise illegal trading in human organs has scaled the second reading at the Lagos State House of Assembly with the Speaker, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, describing it as one of the best things to happen to the state. Before committing the bill to the House Committee on Health, Obasa said the committee should also make a provision criminalising the activities of ritualists. He directed that the administration of criminal justice law be studied so that the Organ Harvest and Transplantation bill being considered can be all-encompassing.

Earlier, Chairman, House Committee on Health, Hon. Hakeem Sokunle (Oshodi- Isolo 1), explained that the bill captured the legal framework for the regulation of organ transplantation from donors either living or dead to patients in need. Sokunle said the bill had seven parts with 37 sub-sections and tried to curb illegal trade in human parts. Under its offence and penalties clause, the bill stated that ‘a person who removes the organ of another person for a reason other than for therapeutic purposes commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a term of 10 years without an option of fine.’

The bill also stipulated that a person or any hospital and ‘who for the purposes of transplant, conducts, associates with, or helps in any manner in the removal of any organ without authority commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding N5 million or a term of 10 years.’ Contributing to the debate, Gbolahon Yishawu (Eti-Osa 2), said the bill would help in putting a stop to organ trafficking. He called the attention of his colleagues to some grey areas in the bill. Also, Rotimi Olowo (Somolu 1) condemned the act of harvesting organs for monetary gain in some parts of Nigeria, adding that the bill would put an end to such as well as protect minors and the mentally ill.

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