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Reps summon NAPTIP D-G over unlawful detention of alliance hospital CEO

The House of Representatives has summoned the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), over the unlawful detention of Dr Christopher Otabor, Chief Executive Officer, Alliance Hospital Abuja.

Rep. Mike Etaba, Chairman, House Committee on Public Petition, ordered the Director-General of NAPTIP, Mrs Fatima Waziri-Azi, to appear before it on April 18.

He said that failure to appear would leave the committee with no choice than to issue a warrant of arrest.

The chairman said that it was unfortunate that NAPTIP, which detained Otabor for four days, was not at the investigative hearing.

The committee also urged the police officer who handled the alleged organ harvesting case leveled against Otabor before NAPTIP arrested and detained him to also appear before it.

“We will handle this matter the way it should, we will be thorough in our investigation and whoever is found guilty will be punished.

“This country is not a lawless country; whoever violated the Nigerian constitution will be dealt with severely.

“Everybody that is supposed to respond to the petition must be here, or we will issue an arrest warrant,’’ he said.

The committee said it was unfortunate that NAPTIP relied on social media to obtain information that led to Otabor’s detention.

The committee said such action could tarnish someone’s image, adding that such conduct was unacceptable, “this matter is too gross for our hearing.”

“We must get the date of the arrest and those involved in the arrest, including the statement from the IPO.

“Why we are discouraging the Japa syndrome, some who are preventing and helping this country to grow are hounded down, this investigative hearing will be a fact finding mission,’’ he said.

Rep. Victor Ogene (LP-Abia), a member of the committee, commended the CEO of Alliance Hospital for bringing the matter before the lawmakers.

“This is the people’s house; this suggests that you have nothing to hide, though I am not exonerating you.

“All the law enforcement agencies that are supposed to come and present their cases aren’t here.

“The D-G of NAPTIP should be summoned before this committee; she knows why she did the illegal detention. The law has prescribed a term of detention.”

“We have an organisation paying a bill of over N70 million and if the staff were driven away, you know how that will affect them and their family,’’ he said.

Earlier, Otabor said the police had earlier questioned him over allegations of organ harvesting, and found that it was untrue and some of his staff earlier detained were released.

He said following the video circulating on social media that he was involved in organ harvesting, NAPTIP without investigation ordered his arrest and detained him for four days.

Otabor said such allegation was an attempt to damage the goodwill and the reputation he had enjoyed for years, adding that NAPTIP`s  action was calculated to embarrass and lower his image.

He accused NAPTIP D-G of displaying wanton show of power, force and intimidation against him, adding that he had been a reputable multi-specialty healthcare service provider.

“In the four days I spent in detention at the premises of NAPTIP, no questions were asked regarding any investigation into any matter and my phone was not searched.

He said all the allegations against him about organ harvesting were borne out of hatred, adding that he had equally sued the newspaper that indicated his hospital in such dastard act.

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