Reports by international bodies made available to Nigeria’s security agencies now suggest that top Nigerian politicians and diplomats have been major players in the illicit businesses of human trafficking and organ sales.
The businesses involve Nigerian victims and others from the West African sub-region, going by FOCUSGIST.COM findings.
The reports – mainly from Italian, French, and International Police (Interpol) – detail how diplomatic channels are used to integrate illegal immigrants into countries like Italy, France, and Spain.
FOCUSGIST.COM investigations revealed a highly cohesive network where politically exposed persons (PEPs) are involved in ambassadorial/diplomatic appointments solely with a view to promoting the criminal cross-border trade.
Informers have also disclosed that the uncanny practice involving human organ trafficking – with emphasis on warehousing needed human parts – may have berthed in Nigeria. The intelligence, in addition to the gorier details concerning the sale of human organs, fingered well-connected politicians and diplomats.
As gathered, the operation begins with ambassadorial appointments/lobbying. This, according to presidency sources, explains President Muhammadu Buhari’s choice of ambassadorial nominees. There had been misgivings over the ages of some Nigerian ambassadors, with some being over 80 years old. In the Senate, too, lawmakers have decided in favour of career diplomats ahead of politically exposed persons.
“The effort is meant to stem these clandestine and illegal cross-border operations,” a presidency source explained.
An Italian secret police source from Rome hinted that reports detailing Nigerians’ involvement in this criminal enterprise have been made available to Nigeria’s security agencies and government in several instances.
“We have made our findings open to them after much interrogation of some Nigerian suspects in the operations upon request from your country, as I am aware of, and there was also a joint security report by my country, Spain, and France at some point, too,” the foreign source said.
The source said the matter is difficult to handle because it involved highly powerful PEPs not only in Nigeria but also in the countries of destination of these trades.
“Powerful people are involved on all sides and, honestly speaking, the trade sustains some sectors of the economies in these countries,” the source added.
Currently, there is a global outrage after the death of twenty-six Italy bound Nigerian women, believed to be illegal immigrants on the high seas, recently.
The matter almost sparked a diplomatic row after Italy buried the women without duly notifying Nigeria and properly identifying the corpses.
Even more, the United Nations reacted recently to reports and horrifying footages from Libya of slave trading of blacks by Arabs believed to be Libyans.
Intelligence reports suggest that most of these victims are targets of organ theft or sex trade.
Some of the victims are sold outright as slaves to out of the way labour camps.
Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General, called on all stakeholders in the global community to act fast on the matter, describing the trend as “horrifying” and “a heinous crime against humanity”. But the bigger worries stem from the more sinister harvesting and trafficking of human organs across borders.
Only recently, too, Isaac Adewole, Minister of Health, warned Nigerians who were in the habit of travelling abroad for health tourism to be careful of organ harvesters. What the minister, however, failed to explain was that the operation was highly organised and involved the casing/profiling of would-be victims right from the Nigerian shores.
As learnt, personal and health details filed at mission houses were somehow obtained and sent ahead to their accomplices in foreign countries.
“Some organs are stolen right in the hospitals where the victims are being treated while they are under sedation,” explained a medical doctor based in Abuja.
According to the physician, one of these victims who returned from one of the big Asian countries reported to his hospital a few days later after arrival, complaining of health complications. Upon examination, it was discovered that one of his kidneys was missing. There are fears, too, that the menace may have started proliferating in the country.
As learnt, a French police report indicting Nigerian diplomats and politicians show that the syndicates may have devised new ways of luring unsuspecting victims to countries where their organs are harvested. “It is a very lucrative trade that involves not only kidneys,” explained an intelligence officer in the country who was rivy to the report. According to him, a single human lung sells for as much as $10,000 to $20,000.
Human organs remain viable for between four and eight hours, depending on the conditions in which they are kept.
But with technological breakthrough designed to ‘deceive’ the organs into believing it is still encased in a human body, organs like kidney, lungs, heart, reportedly can now be warehoused for more than forty-eight hours.
“What this simply means is that you can have organ warehouse in countries with poor regulations and supervision,” explained the Abuja based physician INDEPENDENT. The European Union (EU) figures further buttresses that Nigerians are the biggest traffickers in persons and the biggest victims of the trade. There are suggestions, too, that not a few Nigerians are victims of organ-harvesting.
For instance, Nigerians accounted for an estimated 8,700 out of 283,532 irregular migrants entering the EU borders, many of whom risked their lives crossing the Mediterranean in 2014. In the first half of 2015, Nigerians ranked 9th of all persons granted international protection in EUs 28-member states. EU further states that Nigerian nationals are the most numerous among non-European victims of trafficking in humans, and they are also the most numerous traffickers.