HURIWA Decries ‘Biased Reportage’ Against Hospital, Seeks Fair Trial

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The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has expressed grave concerns over alleged sensational and biased reporting surrounding the ongoing court case involving Abuja-based medical outfit, Alliance Hospital, and its Medical Director, Dr. Christopher Otabor, over alleged organ harvesting.

The organisation said some media reports have skewed the allegations of illegal organ harvesting against the hospital and its medical director, saying this was an attempt to malign the hospital and its staff before a fair legal determination has been made.


In a press statement signed by HURIWA National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, the civil society organisation noted that since the trial’s inception, certain ‘5th Columnists’ have consistently reported the proceedings in a manner that painted the hospital as a den of criminal activity, disregarding the principle enshrined in Section 36(5) of the Nigerian Constitution, which presumes every individual innocent until proven guilty by a competent court.



“This lack of professional objectivity and responsible journalism is alarming and calls for immediate redress.


“Dr. Otabor has shared his side of the story, emphasizing that the kidney donor, Oluwatobi Saliman, presented an affidavit confirming he was above 18 years old and, thus, legally competent to consent to the organ donation. The transaction was facilitated by a third party who brought the donor to the hospital for the procedure, and Alliance Hospital acted within the legal and ethical boundaries of medical practice.


“Despite these facts, the court proceedings have been misrepresented to suggest a nefarious operation within the hospital. The misleading reports by these media outlets seem to ignore due process of law and the cross-examinations that have revealed significant discrepancies in the prosecution witnesses’ testimonies. Such biased reporting undermines public trust in the judicial system and tarnishes the reputation of an institution providing life-saving medical services,” HURIWA revealed.


HURIWA, therefore, commended Alliance Hospital for its pioneering role in bringing affordable and high-quality kidney transplant services to Nigeria, stating that the initiative has significantly reduced the need for Nigerians to seek expensive medical treatments abroad, which often come with high risks and low success rates.



The organisation added that the hospital’s collaboration with Indian medical experts to conduct transplants domestically represents a significant advancement in Nigeria’s healthcare capabilities.


HURIWA further emphasised that Alliance Hospital has played a crucial role in providing life-saving procedures that would otherwise be out of reach for many Nigerians. The organisation underscored the importance of acknowledging and appreciating the innovative medical practices introduced by Alliance Hospital. Instead of criticizing the institution, HURIWA advocated for efforts to support and enhance its capabilities.


Furthermore, HURIWA described Dr. Otabor as a highly respected figure in the medical community, both locally and internationally, as he has received numerous accolades, including the Prestigious Honorary Fellowship Award by the Chartered Institute of Administrators and recognition as one of the 50 Most Humanitarian Service and Change Makers in Nigeria for 2024.


“His contributions to medical science are globally acknowledged, with invitations to speak at international medical forums.


“The misleading and sensationalist reports from these 5th Columnists ignore the foundational principle that every person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. This principle is not merely a legal formality but a cornerstone of justice that protects individuals from undue persecution and maintains the integrity of the judicial process. The premature vilification of Dr. Otabor and Alliance Hospital sets a dangerous precedent and undermines confidence in the legal system.


“We in HURIWA suspect that there might be vested interests, possibly from competitors, seeking to monopolize the legal organ transplant market by tarnishing the reputation of Alliance Hospital. Such actions, driven by ulterior motives, are detrimental not only to the individuals involved but also to the broader healthcare sector in Nigeria. The deliberate dissemination of falsehoods and half-truths compromises the ethical standards of journalism and damages public perception,” he stated.


In light of these developments, HURIWA called for calm and urged all stakeholders to allow the court to reach its verdict based on the merits of the case, free from external pressures and biased reporting. The association also advised Dr. Otabor to pursue further legal action against any entity attempting to defame his character and professional standing without substantiated evidence.


In conclusion, HURIWA reiterated its call for unbiased reporting and a fair trial, by upholding the principle that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. The prominent civil advocacy group noted that the case against Alliance Hospital and Dr. Otabor is ongoing, and all reports must reflect the actual proceedings in court.


“Any attempt to prejudge or malign individuals or institutions without proper evidence must be condemned.


“The allegations against Alliance Hospital and Dr. Otabor should be viewed through the lens of factual evidence presented in court, not through the distorted lens of biased reporting. The media has a responsibility to inform the public accurately and fairly, without sensationalism that can lead to public misperception and unwarranted reputational damage,” HURIWA stated.

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