Academician Dr Philip C. Njemanze MD (Hons), is of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) the UNESCO body for Space Research. He was past Chairman of the Association of Catholic Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (ACMPN) and Chairman of the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGMPN), Imo State, Nigeria.
The ACMPN and AGPMPN had petitioned the Federal government to seal all 27 hospitals in Imo State, describing them as ‘OTOKOTO HOSPTALS’ designed for human organ trafficking. In this interview, Njemanze provides more update and speaks on other issues, such as NHCT 2014
Question: You were the Chairman of the Association of Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN) Imo State and the Association of Catholic Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (ACMPN) in the period when the issue arose about the 27 Hospitals built in 27 LGAs in Imo State by the past administration. We reported at that time that AGPMPN petitioned the Federal Executive Council. Please what was the petition about?
Academician Njemanze: The allegation was that the 27 Hospitals were designed for human organ harvesting without consent from Nigerians. This is based on the ‘lacunas’ built into the National Health Act 2014 (NHAct2014) to allow collection of human organs without consent. The contentious sections of the NHAct2014 include Sections 13, 20, 43, 45, 48, 51, 53, 58, and definition of gametes, with pitfalls which are obvious to anyone applying common sense.
The NHAct 2014 in Section 51 states that: (1) A person shall not remove tissue from a living person for transplantation in another living person or carry out the transplantation of such tissue except:- (a) in a hospital authorized for that purpose; and (b) on the written authority of: (i) the medical practitioner in charge of clinical services in that hospital or any other medical practitioner authorized by him or her; or (ii) in the case where there is no medical practitioner in charge of the clinical services at that hospital a medical practitioner authorized thereto by the person in charge of the hospital.
(2) The medical practitioner stated in subsection (1)(b) shall not be the lead participant in a transplant for which he has granted authorization under that subsection. (3) For the purpose of transplantation, there shall be an independent tissue transplantation Committee within any health establishment that engages in the act and practice of transplantation as prescribed.
We pointed out that Section 51 focuses on transplantation which has no relevance to health system regulation. The entire sections on transplantation are irrelevant to health framework law. Laws on transplantation are usually addressed separately. These provisions were inserted into the NHAct2014 because of the interest of foreign sponsors of this law in human organ and ovarian egg trafficking. The main subject of any transplantation surgery is the DONOR (that provides the organ) and the patient who is the RECIPIENT (that receives the organ).
This section should first acknowledge the rights and obligations of the DONOR and the RECIPIENT! Rather, the drafters chose to acknowledge the rights of the health administrator who has no ‘locus’ in the matter, that means he/she has nothing at stake. It is a fundamental legal principle: nemo dat quod non habet – ‘you cannot give, what you do not have’, in other words, the doctor cannot authorize transplantation of another person’s organ. For the first time, this universally recognized legal principle was overturned in the NHAct2014. The doctor/administrator was given the power over the Right to Life of another person (the DONOR). The latter is a major violation of the Fundamental Right to Life of the DONOR and is a major breach of the Fundamental Rights Section of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria! We suggested that, Section 51 should be null and void and of no effect.
We alleged that, Section 51 was worded on purpose, because the Human Organ Trafficking Cartel who own the hospitals (260 foreign owned hospitals sponsored by the American Billionaire Foundation now under construction in Nigeria) and the Imo 27 Hospitals (sponsored by Apollo Hospital Group) that are licensed for transplantation would be the place where Nigerians’ organs would be poached without consent under the NHAct2014. We suggested that, Section 51(b) clearly state “on the written informed consent of the DONOR”. Both AGPMPN and ACMPN were represented at the public hearing to present the memo arguing against these contentious statues of the NHAct2014. The NHAct2014 Section 51 as presently stated is a gross violation of the Helsinki Declaration on human subject written informed consent for medical procedures and research.
It is a gross violation of Article 3 of the UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights, as well as a violation of the Fundamental Right to Life in Article 33 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Violations of the Helsinki Declaration and UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights are very serious and could attract sanctions against Nigeria including suspension of its privileges as a UN member state! Nigeria’s human rights record could be downgraded.
Question: I remember watching the main sponsor of the NHAct2014 Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa on Channels TV saying that Section 48 provides for a DONOR Consent Clause. What were the arguments for and against?
Academician Njemanze: Yes, then Senator Ifeanyi Okowa and now Governor Ifeanyi Okowa did say that. However, we pointed out that he was wrong. Let us examine section 48: (1) Subject to the provision of section 53, a person shall not remove tissue, blood or blood product from the body of another living person for any purpose except; (a) with the informed consent of the person from whom the tissue, blood or blood product is removed granted in prescribed manner; (b) that the consent clause may be waived for medical investigations and treatment in emergency cases; and (c) in accordance with prescribed protocols by the appropriate authority.
First, Section 48 of the NHAct2014 makes reference to Section 53: It is an Offence for a person:- 1(a) who has donated tissue, blood or a blood product to receive any form of financial or other reward for such donation, except for the reimbursement of reasonable costs incurred by him or her to provide such donation; (b) to sell or trade in tissue, blood, blood products except for reasonable payments made in appropriate health establishment for the procurement of tissues, blood or blood products.
We raised the issue that, Section 53 (b) states that, it is legal to ask for ‘reasonable payments’. So the reader should consider what is ‘reasonable payment’ for donating one of his/her kidneys. Could this cost be N10,000 or N10,000,000. The answer to this question reveals that, the preferred option of what many people would consider reasonable for risking his/her life to donate a kidney will be N10 million rather than N10,000. This is what clearly points to the deceptive language that was used. The NHAct 2014 legalizes human organ trafficking for money!
On the so-called consent clause: Section 48 (b) waives the right to Consent in Emergency. What is emergency? Oxford Dictionary: A serious unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action. Wikipedia: An emergency is a situation that poses an immediate risk to health, life, property, or environment. By the definition of ‘emergency’ in medicine most health conditions may at some point in development qualify as an emergency that requires immediate intervention. Even severe headache can present an emergency! What the NHAct2014 states is that, in all these situations regarded as ‘emergency’, The NHAct2014 says that, INFORMED CONSENT OF THE DONOR MAYBE WAIVED FOR INVESTIGATIONS AND TREATMENT! NOTE THAT, THE DONOR IS A HEALTHY PERSON WITH REFERENCE TO TRANSPLANTATION! The reader should understand that, the two major functions of the hospital are investigations and treatment. In other words, for all what the hospital wants to do including surgery particularly TRANSPLANTATION, there is no legal requirement to ask the patient or DONOR, what should be done to him or her! Does ‘emergency’ mean that the patient or DONOR is mentally incompetent to give consent for a medical procedure as serious as surgery for transplantation? Of course not!
Question: Let’s say that, now you have made a convincing argument on the Legal Framework for Human Organ Trafficking in the NHAct2014. What then convinced your associations that, the then Imo State Government of Rochas Okorocha 27 Hospitals built in the LGAs, were profiled for human organ trafficking.
Academician Njemanze: The then Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha in a speech on February 14th 2012 announced to Imo People and I quote “ We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Apollo Hospital Group in India to equip and manage some of the new hospitals upon completion. “ Apollo Hospital Group India is the Second largest transplant center in the world.
We had earlier been investigating some incident of collection of bone marrow samples during supposedly eye surgery at the General Hospital Owerri by Indian doctors involved with Tulsi Chanrai Foundation and some were linked to Apollo Hospital India.These bone marrow tests are linked to transplantation tests for matching human organ donors to recipients. Since the tests called HLA typing are hereditary and show group similarity, anyone routinely collecting it in a given locality may build up a map of the geographic distribution in Imo State. One possibility is that, if a kidney is needed by a patient called RECIPIENT, the HLA map could guide the doctors to the locality where one could get the DONOR that could match. It makes sense, to have several hospitals spread across the geographic area in Imo State, so that they can locate potential DONORS as fast as possible. Even though, they might not need 27 hospitals, at least 9-14 could give a good spread. The idea of 27 is for political correctness and façade as a development project. The fact that, Imo State Government signed an MOU with Apollo Hospital Group made AGPMPN to start reviewing reports of illegal organ transplantation involving Apollo Hospital Group in India. The Apollo Hospital India as the second largest transplant center in the world and has been indicted by the Indian Authorities and Parliament for Human Organ Trafficking Indian as cited in the Lok Sabha Parliamentary Q & A on Organ Donation and Transplantation, Government of India Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (Website https://www.mohanfoundation.org/loksabha/incidents-of-kidney-organ-transplantation.htm Accessed 14th September 2022). Police reports implicated Apollo Hospital Group in illegal human kidney transplantation in India.
Question: If I may cut in here doctor, could this just be a crime by chance association? Is there any pattern, that would suggest that, the intention of Imo State Government is for human organ trafficking?
Academician Njemanze: Well, this was a paramount consideration in our investigations. One very important component of a Human Organ Trafficking Business is a means of transportation from DONOR to RECIPIENT and a link to the International Human Organ Trafficking Cartel. We were alarmed when we learnt that, the Imo State Government had also signed an MOU with the government of the Republic of Kosovo, to establish the Imo State Airline Company (News report from Channels TV on March 27th, 2012. https://www.channelstv.com/2012/03/27/okorocha-to-establish-imo-airline/ Accessed 14/9/2022). AGPMPN at the time looked into the option that, the sole purpose of the Imo Airline could be for couriering the human organs collected from the 27 hospitals in Imo State to Kosovo for onward distribution across Europe. If this is the case, then the Cartel working in Kosovo must have been suspected or detected by some European authorities for past activities. Well, so it was! The former prime minister of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi with whom the Governor of Imo State, signed an MOU, was indicted as an international human organ trafficker by the European Parliament (Website http://www.assembly.coe.int/CommitteeDocs/2010/ajdoc462010prov.pdf Accessed 14/9/2022) in a report titled “Inhuman treatment of people and illicit trafficking in human organs in Kosovo” dated 7th January 2011 Doc. 12462 Report of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, Rapporteur: Mr Dick Marty, which states in Section 67: “Thaçi was commonly identified, and cited in secret intelligence reports, as the most dangerous of the (Kosovo Liberation Army) KLA’s “criminal bosses”. Hashim Thaçi and his group were implicated in human organ trafficking in Europe in Section 75. The report further states in Section 136, that leaders of the KLA sold human organs taken from Albania to private clinics overseas as part of the international “black market” of organ-trafficking for transplantation.
Question: In other words, Prof you are saying “show me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are.” You will agree that, this is a massive operation, so what specific additional actions did then Imo State Government of Okorocha take that would suggest an intention to use the 27 hospitals for human organ trafficking?
Academician Njemanze: The alarm was raised when the Imo State Government closed the three major General Hospitals in Imo State and also indicated that, they would close the private hospitals in Imo State once the 27 hospitals become operational. Technically, we would expect that, the Imo State Government would attempt to close all other hospitals in Imo state once the Human Organ Trafficking becomes operational in these 27 ‘OTOKOTO’ hospitals. They will use any possible disguise of the real motives, from taxation to building standards and even industrial disputes. This is because if the public or private hospitals operate alongside these human organ trafficking centers, they cases could be reviewed by doctors who could alert relatives that organs have been harvested in the deceased or living relative, creating a very high liability for the Imo State Government and their collaborators.
Question: What would be the legal framework to close private hospitals for example?
Academician Njemanze: The NHAct2014 provides the legal framework to close all Nigerian owned hospitals. The Nigerian hospitals, private, public, mission and Islamic were supposed to be closed down, 24 months from the date the NHAct2014 was signed (31st October, 2014). The closure of the existing Nigerian hospitals is based on NHAct2014, Section 13. Section 13: (1) Without being in possession of a Certificate of Standards, a person, entity, government or organization shall not :- (a) establish, construct, modify or acquire a health establishment, health agency or health technology; (b) increase the number of beds in, or acquire prescribed health technology at a health establishment or health agency; (c) provide prescribed health services; or (d) continue to operate a health establishment, health agency or health technology after the expiration of 24 months from the date this Bill took effect. (2) The Certificate of Standards referred to in subsection (1) of this section may be obtained by application in prescribed manner from the appropriate body of government where the facility is located. In the case of tertiary institutions the appropriate authority shall be the National Tertiary Health Institutions Standards Committee, acting through the Federal Ministry of Health.
Definition: ‘‘certificate of standards’’ means a certificate under section 13. However, the standards include stringent architectural and engineering standards (see example: https://uihealthcare.org/sites/default/files/uihc_arc_eng_design_standards_november2016.pdf ) that are not met by current buildings for hospitals in Nigeria. On that basis, no certificate of standards would be issued to Nigerian hospitals, which are not part of the Cartel network.
Question: If they close the hospitals in Imo State, people can still go to hospitals in Rivers State, so they could still be exposed. Are there plans to close all other hospitals in Nigeria too?
Academician Njemanze. Yes! The Foreign Organ Trafficking Cartel has started construction of 260 modern mega-hospitals in Nigeria. The first is in Abuja where the NHAct2014 took immediate effect. This fact was revealed in a meeting with medical professional groups (AGPMPN and others were present) with a leading U.S. Medical company that was contracted by an American billionaire businessman to build and equip the 260 hospitals in Nigeria for initial two billion US dollars. The medical professionals present were offered the option of accepting to close down their practices in exchange for money. This proposal was turned down by the Nigerian Health organizations present at the meeting in Abuja. The proposed hospitals will be built according to the International Building Code of hospitals. The Certificate of Standards for hospital buildings are based on the International Building Code of hospitals, which has stringent standards of construction that no hospital in Nigeria meets. The plumbing is with conduit, all wiring with conduit, high floor to roof height, wide corridors, wide window width, 24-hour lighting, 24- hour air conditioning, 24-hour water, specific humidity, airflow purification etc. Similar standards apply for pharmacies and medical diagnostic laboratories.
These standards which are difficult to meet even in advanced countries will be even more challenging in Nigeria. But more importantly, they have very minimal effects on health outcomes despite the enormous resources required to comply. For example, the United States’ maternal mortality ratio (MMR) remains worse than that of a developing country like Chile, which is only second to Canada in the Americas [Koch E, Thorp J, Bravo M, Gatica S, Romero CX, et al. (2012) Women’s Education Level, Maternal Health Facilities, Abortion Legislation and Maternal Deaths: A Natural Experiment in Chile from 1957 to 2007. PLoS ONE 7(5): e36613. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0036613]. Nigeria’s health indices will not improve just because we have 260 ‘five star class’ hospitals for human organ trafficking. However, the NHAct2014 requires strict compliance under Section 13, as a means for foreigners to monopolize the entire health sector.
Question: Lastly, obviously the NHAct2014 has not been implemented and the public and private hospitals are still open for now. What do Nigerians await in the future?
Academician Njemanze: Well, yes thanks to God that our efforts made the government to suspend the implementation of the NHAct2014 until now. However, what we requested from FG and the National Assembly was a repeal of the Act and its replacement with a new Act in our national interest. As far as the NHAct2014 subsists as law in Nigeria, the Cartel will continue to make efforts to actualize the law using a new government if possible. It is also a National Security Risk, because the Cartel would render Nigeria ungovernable through sponsorship of terrorism and acts of extreme violence leading to a fall of any government that, does not endorse the actualization of the NHAct2014. The Nigerian people must take ownership and demand the repeal of the NHAct 2014 in it’s present form.
PRESS: Thank You