Members of the Lagos State House of Assembly are poised to criminalise the illegal removal of human organs as a bill to that effect scaled second reading during plenary on Tuesday.
The law to regulate organ harvest and transplantation in the state provides that a person who removes the organ of another person for any reason other than therapeutic purposes commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a term of 10 years in prison without an option of fine.
Leading the debate, the Chairman, House Committee on Health Services, Olusola Sokunle, pointed out that bill was a legal framework to regulate the removal and transplant of organs from a living or dead person to patients suffering from terminal organ failure, stressing that it would regulate and curb the illegalities in trading of human organs.
He said the law when operational, would ensure that persons suffering from organ failure have access to available organs, as well as ensure that the standard medical procedure for human organ harvest and transplant is followed.
In his contribution, Gbolahon Yishawu (Eti-Osa 2), said that the bill would help to stop organ trafficking.
He warned that clauses which would shut out the House from investigating cases of illegal organ harvest should be avoided.
Member, representing Somolu Constituency 1, Rotimi Olowo condemned the criminal act, which he said cuts across every section of the country.
Apart from putting a stop to the illegal act, Olowo noted that it would also protect minors and mentally challenged persons whose organs cannot be harvested without the consent of their next of kin.
On the benefits of the bill, Olowo said it would bring sanctity to human dignity, even as he requested for penalties stiffer than what was stated in the bill.
He added that since the bill provides that only certified medical laboratories can get involved in human organ harvest, it would stop the involvement of quacks in the practice.
Also, the Deputy Speaker, Wasiu Sanni Eshinlokun, lamented the high rate of organ trafficking in the country, saying that the bill was all encompassing even as he enjoined his colleagues to support it.
The Majority Leader, Sanai Agunbiade, described the bill as a product of deep reflection on the part of the state government, itemising the various areas involved in organ transplanting process.
He added that the bill would improve the procedure and discourage the act of organ harvesting for financial gain.
However, Speaker of the House, Mudashiru Obasa, described the bill as the best thing that would happen to the state, since according to him, it would help those with terminal organ failure to still live because there would be certified organ transplant for them.
Obasa said the bill would also criminalise the act of using organs for ritual purposes.
” With this bill, those who illegally harvest organ for ritual purposes, will face the full wrath of the law,” he said.
After members’ contributions, the House Committee on Health Services was mandated to organise a public hearing and report back to the House in two weeks’ time.