OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora has called on Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government to work in synergy to protect Nigerians against organ harvesting for export.
Chairperson of the committee, Tolulope Sadipe-Akande (APC, Oyo) made this call at an investigative hearing with the relevant MDAs at the National Assembly Complex Abuja on Thursday.
She lamented that there were cases where Nigerians travel abroad for medical tourism only to discover years later that a vital organ had been stolen.
She also pointed that some innocent Nigerians were made to suffer inhuman treatments and in some cases, death over an offense they did not commit or know nothing about and therefore asked the agencies to intensify the fight against human trafficking.
The Committee chairman further explained that available information suggests there were cases where human organs have been taken away from Nigeria through land and air borders without consent, alleging that some Nigerians collaborate with foreigners to perpetuate these crimes.
“It is a good thing most of the relevant agencies are here today to see how we can put an end to this; we must set aside agency pride to protect Nigerians across the globe. This idea of agencies claiming superiority over the other has to stop,” she said.
The Chairman of Diaspora Committee recommended the establishment of Legal Desk in all Nigerian missions to provide legal services to Nigerians living abroad that cannot afford to hire lawyers to defend them.
Also speaking, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Zubairu Dada assured the Committee that the Ministry was doing its best to protect Nigerians abroad, saying like citizens of other countries, Nigerians were free to live and carry out their legitimate businesses in any part of the world.
Dada who pledged the Ministry’s commitment to the protection of Nigerians across the world in spite of all challenges, said the job will be much easier if all Nigerians will always obey the laws of their host countries.
While saying it would be difficult to defend any Nigerian found guilty of breaking the laws of a foreign country, the Minister noted that Nigerian Missions could not procure legal services for Nigerians in diaspora due to paucity of funds.
Addressing the lawmakers, Mrs. Julie Okah-Donli, the Director General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) called for the adequate sensitization of Nigerians to identify with Nigerian Missions in their host countries so as to easily access help, particularly legal services as there are many Nigerian lawyers accross the World.
Okah-Donli while calling for strong collaboration with other agencies, said NAPTIP should be carried along by other agencies when Nigerians are to be deported to enable the agency track suspected human traffickers on the list.