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    Posted August 16, 2014 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    The Africa we don't see

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    He emerged from his room in a red T-shirt and blue denim on Sunday, August 3, 2014 in a state of despair and sober reflection. Slowly settling down in a white plastic chair in the hotel lobby where he had agreed to speak with our correspondent, he told a rather unusual story of his ordeal in the hands of his close friend who lured him into selling one of his kidneys for just $7,500 (N1.2m). That was 2008. However, before he could talk, our correspondent had to part away with N10,000, N5,000 paid in cash and the other N5,000 for exotic drinks and meal. Not knowing that his friend, who had also become an agent in the international organ trade market, was only mindful of what would flood his bank account, he went headlong into deciding that he would do his friend’s bidding. Martins said he had only one reason why he was willing to sell one of his kidneys for that amount: financial independence. He had tried to make a meaning out of his life. While growing up, he had dreamt of becoming an engineer. But his parents did not have the wherewithal to support his dream. So he settled for the less and trained as a plumber. Up till today, he said he is a professional plumber, but not the type that could free him from poverty. So when he was approached by his childhood friend, he did not think times over before accepting the offer. He would sell his kidney, his friend, who was also the agent, would make about $1,800 (N300,000), while he would pocket the balance — $5,600 (N900,000). He felt it was balanced Mathematics, but the complexity of the deal was none he could have imagined. According to Martins, his friend, Sola, had a link with some individuals in Nigeria, mostly people who were looking for people who could donate kidneys to loved ones who needed to be flown abroad for kidney transplant. A part of the money paid for the kidney would go to the agent, while the other part would be given the donor. As an agent, Sola was called one day in October 2008 by a client who was based in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. The client was a man whose 27-year-old daughter’s two kidneys had failed and needed to be flown to India for a transplant. N1.2m was the amount agreed upon by both parties to strike a deal. Then the agent’s work was to look for someone who would sell his kidney and be paid a part of the money put down by the client. Martins was the donor in this case who was hoping he would make N900,000 when the deal was over, but his friend chose to be ‘smarter’ than him. Instead of being paid, he (Martins) was the one who ‘paid’ and is still ‘paying.’ Martins said, “When I was tricked into selling my kidney for money, it was even a close friend of mine that introduced me into the trade. And I did not doubt him for a second. I wanted my life to change positively. I did not know he would eventually betray me due to the trust I had in him. Things were a bit tough for me then and I was desperate to make a change in my life. “Sola was looking for someone to donate a kidney to a person, and since I had been living in penury, I decided to take a chance. I thought it was a little issue. He told me the huge amount of money that was usually paid to donors. I told him I would do it. “The client I was to sell my kidney to was in Port Harcourt at that time, so I travelled there and was lodged in a hotel, the name of which I cannot remember now. The following day, I was taken to the General Hospital in the city for medical tests.” To be tested by the doctors in the General Hospital, Port Harcourt, Martins said he had to pretend as if he was a relative of the patient, and that he did it ‘gladly.’ All he was hoping for was the money. He said, “I had to pretend as if I was a family member of the client who needed my kidney so doctors could allow me undergo the tests. “I was made to undergo different medical tests ranging from HIV, to blood group, and whether my kidney matched with that of the sick. “That was just the beginni

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