Nigeria: Lagos Assembly Considers Bill Criminalising Illegal Organ Harvesting

The bill passed the second reading during Tuesday's plenary

A bill to 'regulate' human organs harvesting and transplantation has scaled its second reading in the Lagos State House of Assembly.

The bill scaled the second reading after it was read for the second time by the Clerk of the House, Olalekan Onafeko, during plenary on Tuesday.

Mr Onafeko said the title of the bill was 'Lagos State Organ Harvest and Transplantation Bill 2021' .

He said that it is a bill for a law to regulate organ harvest and transplantation in Lagos State for other connected purposes.

The Chairman, House Committee on Health, 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.

Mr 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 states 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 stipulates 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 the permission of the authority commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding N5 million or a term of 10 years," he said.

Contributing, Gbolahon Yishawu (Eti-Osa 2), said the bill would help in putting a stop to organ trafficking, while calling 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 the country, adding that the bill would put an end to such as well as protect minors and the mentally ill.

Mr Olowo argued that the bill would bring about the sanctity of life and human dignity, while the penalties for such acts should be stiffer than what was prescribed in the bill.

The lawmaker added that the bill would provide certified medical laboratories for the organs donated and that this was aimed at stopping the involvement of quacks and the criminally minded.

Speaking, the Deputy Speaker, Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni, condemned the high rate of organ trafficking in the country.

He explained that the bill was all encompassing and that it should be supported by all members of the house.

The Leader of the House, Sanai Agunbiade, described the bill as "a product of deep reflection on the part of the state government".

Mr Agunbiade noted that the bill would improve procedure and discourage the act of organ harvesting for financial gain.

"The bill will ensure that organ transplanting is not all-comers affair in the health sector in Lagos state," Mr Agunbiade said.

Commenting, the Speaker of the house, Mudashiru Obasa, said the bill would make provisions to criminalise the activities of ritualists.

He directed that the administration of criminal justice law be studied so that the Organ Harvest and Transplantation bill considered would be all-encompassing.

The speaker then committed the bill to the committee on Health for public hearing. (NAN)

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