Something drastic and urgent must be done about the way Nigerian youths are selling their future and as a result selling the country's. There is no serious nation that does not rely on the morality and the abundant life of its youths for its future well-being, otherwise its unity and future prosperity would be in jeopardy.
Section 17 subsection 3 ( f ) of the Nigerian constitution as amended states that 'children; young persons and the aged are protected... against moral and material neglect'. With the rate at which Nigerian youths are selling their kidney in Malaysia, India, China and other Asian countries for 10 million naira, without doubt the Nigerian government has failed in the above duty as listed in the constitution. Yahoo-Yahoo boys are said to be the ones mostly involved in this trade, probably after realising that cyber-fraud is not as lucrative as it used to be (whites are certainly wiser now). In a bid to keep up with their upward way of life, they have discovered a new way of making money which of course you could say is legit. Given the high incidences of chronic kidney diseases in some Asian countries, the trade is certainly a money-spinner. In Malaysia alone, there are about 2,500 cases of kidney failure yearly while in China about 1.5 million people are reportedly in need of organ transplants, but that only 10,000 were performed yearly, thus fueling an illegal trade in organs. As legit as some may claim this newly fancied trade by Nigerian youths is, there are attendant risks. There is no better pointer to this than the tales of some of those who have traded their kidney.
As reported by a website 'www.specialsinternational.com', there was a certain undergraduate named Segun who sold his kidney in Malaysia. On collecting his 10 million naira, he reportedly did not wait for the post treatment, only to come back to Nigeria drinking and clubbing. He was said to have died in a car he bought from the proceeds of his kidney sale.
Another Nigerian, 31-year-old Eghosa, reportedly narrated that he met the man who bought his kidney through a South-African. He said he was taken to a place which looked like an improvised clinic where the kidney was removed. Ever since, according to the website, Eghosa has been falling sick regularly. In his own case, it was either he sold his kidney or let his two sisters go into prostitution. He had to make ends meet for them.
I know there are some who may discountenance these stories, but I have heard on good authority that most Nigerian youths who travel to Malaysia do so in a bid to make money from selling one of their kidneys. The trade is becoming so popular that even in Ekiti some hitherto yahoo-yahoo boys have embarked on this trip and returned to probably flaunt their proceeds from their sale.
Like the 419 and the yahoo-yahoo that Nigeria was at a time popularly known for in the international community, Nigeria is fast becoming synonymous with another anomaly; kidney sale by youths. Should this be allowed to continue? Should the government watch while the nation's youths die in a bid to get rich quick, or should government allow the youths to continue to live on one kidney which requires a careful way of life that most of these yahoo-yahoo boys are not accustomed to? The youths certainly have their own fair share of the blame, but government should start putting meaning and practicable youth empowerment schemes in place, rather than the playing to the gallery it has always embraced, doling out and siphoning billions of naira in the name of youth development, only that the money does not get to the youths. This is why I think government has failed in its duty of protecting the youths against material and moral neglect. Government having failed to provide a workable alternative ( and yet those in government and their families flaunt their abrasively stolen wealth and most times even oppress the poor with it ), the youths who do not have enough moral depth have decided to fashion out ways for themselves. Same thing goes for youths who are into armed-robbery and the sudden attraction of youths to politics.
Those in government or those who benefit from the instituted corruption therein may choose to absolve government, arguing that the youths have their own free-will; maybe so because of the get-rich-quick syndrome of most youths. However, far more noteworthy is the bleakness and uncertainty that have pushed these youths to the brink of desperation. A graduate in Nigeria, particularly one not connected, is not sure of any employment, let alone a promising future. Without the fear of God, sense of morality and proper guidance, the vices that such youths can get involved in are limitless.
Apart from provision of jobs or skill acquisition, government must consciously get youths involved in governance as a way of mentoring and giving them hope of a bright future and sense of belonging in their fatherland. Before some start arguing that youths are already in government, let me explain in clear terms what I mean. I am not referring to over 40 years old so-called youths who are made ministers of youths or children of their godfathers or cronies given juicy appointments.
Unlike before, up to the early nineties when the primary school curriculum was rich with stories illustrating the dignity of labour and the benefits therein, the brains of kids of nowadays are being stuffed with meaningless stories with no clear-cut moral lessons. The only thing one seems to hear often from these kids now are expressions like 'I want to puh-puh' 'I want to wee-wee'. Government has a task of overhauling the curriculum to instill in these pupils from this tender age the respect and sense of fulfilment derivable from hard work and morality.
Also the Federal Government should ensure that Nigerian youths travelling to Malaysia, India and China are rigorously vetted to determine their mission in the Asian countries. There have been claims that some travel agencies woo youths into the kidney-selling trade under the guise of schooling abroad. Every claim of admission into a Malaysian school should be properly verified; government should also double-check to see if the youths register at the schools or whether it is a ploy to jet out of the country to exchange their kidney for 10 million naira. I would also like to suggest a more drastic measure to check every Nigerian youth at the point of departure to and return from the mentioned Asian countries to determine if someone with two kidneys is now 'miraculously' left with one kidney.
Government should take a step further. If upon discovering that any youth had sold his kidney, the travel agency that facilitated his travelling should be black-listed and those managing it jailed. Recently, 17-year-old Chinese, Wang, who now suffers renal deficiency according to prosecutors, sold one of his kidneys to buy an iPad and an iPhone. Those who mid-wived the sale collected 22,000 pounds and gave him 10 percent of the money. His mother noticed the expensive devices he bought and started questioning him. The boy later confessed that he sold his kidney. Like the Nigerian youths, Wang, who lives in Anhui, one of China's poorest southern provinces, was driven by the desire to live on the fast lane. All the five people, including the surgeon, that lured him into the business were arrested and accused of intentional injury. To curtail those who hide under the guise of travel agencies and to eradicate this ugly trend in Nigeria, the National Assembly should come up with a legislation that makes it a crime to lure youths into the kidney business.
Only this way will this kidney-for-money business be stopped in Nigeria. Otherwise, Nigeria will continue to lose her youths to renal deficiency and untimely death occasioned by renal failure and the ill-equipped clinics where the kidney is mostly surgically removed.
Dimeji Daniels writes from 6, Fiyinf'Oluwa street, Adebayo, Ado-Ekiti