In a three-month undercover investigation, Daily Trust on Sunday exposed an illicit kidney trade thriving in Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory. The report uncovers a network of kidney agents targeting vulnerable young men from low economic backgrounds.
The ‘official’ price for a kidney in the black market is revealed to be one million naira. The investigation highlights the involvement of local kidney agents, a Lagos-based broker named Mayor, and the complicity of certain hospitals in the illegal organ trade.
Despite media reports linking hospitals to illegal kidney transplants, regulatory bodies have not taken decisive action.
Mararaba, a bustling community in Nasarawa State, serves as a hub for this illicit kidney trade. Young, financially struggling men are lured into selling their kidneys, often through the efforts of local kidney agents like Yellow, Abdulrahman, and Habib.
These agents, recruited by a Lagos-based broker named Mayor, scout for vulnerable individuals to meet the growing demand for kidneys, driven by a surge in renal diseases.
The investigation points to Alliance Hospital in Abuja as a key player in this illegal organ trade. Despite previous allegations and media reports, the hospital denies sourcing donors for patients but emphasizes ensuring donor qualification and compatibility.
The hospital claims donors sign consent forms and present affidavits to prove they are above 18 years old. However, the report exposes instances of kidney harvesting from minors, including a 16-year-old named Oluwatobi Adedoyin.
Kidney Brokers and Agents:
Mayor, the Lagos-based kidney broker, operates a network of agents who recruit individuals to sell their kidneys. The report details how agents like Yellow, Abdulrahman, and Habib have also sold their kidneys.
Mayor acts as a middleman, connecting renal patients with local agents and donors. The agents receive a percentage of the payment, creating a lucrative yet illegal business model.
Regulatory Gap and Health Repercussions:
Nigeria lacks a regulatory body overseeing transplant centers, creating a gap that allows illegal organ trade to thrive. The report reveals the health risks and psychological impact on donors who, driven by financial struggles, often regret their decisions.
The absence of proper preparation and investigation in commercial donations raises ethical concerns, as the focus is on obtaining the organ rather than the well-being of the donor.
The undercover investigation sheds light on a shadow economy of illegal kidney trade, exposing the involvement of hospitals, brokers, and agents.
Despite the severe consequences for donors, the demand for kidneys, driven by renal diseases, continues to fuel this illicit trade.
The report calls attention to the urgent need for regulatory measures and ethical practices in organ transplantation in Nigeria.