Ike Ekweremadu, a former deputy Senate president of Nigeria, and his wife Beatrice were found guilty of kidney harvesting on Friday, May 5, 2023, by a court in the United Kingdom (UK).
According to Newsmen, the two were found guilty of planning to send a trader from Lagos to the UK so they could harvest his organ for the politician’s 25-year-old daughter, Sonia. They were sentenced to prison along with their collaborator, a doctor named Obinna Obeta.
Beatrice received a four-year, six-month sentence while Ekweremadu received a nine-year, eight-month sentence. The doctor involved, Obeta, will serve ten years in prison and have his license revoked.
“People-trafficking across international borders for the harvesting of human organs is a form of slavery,” the judge at London’s Old Bailey criminal court, Jeremy Johnson, said, describing the act as a “despicable trade” and an attempt to take advantage of the “poverty, misery and desperation” of vulnerable people.
After their victim, a 21-year-old from Lagos, Nigeria, mustered the bravery to report the family to a police station in the UK, Ekweremadu and his wife’s horror began.
The victim, whose identity was withheld for legal reasons, claimed that the Ekweremadus had flown him to Britain in order to remove his kidney.
He stated that Sonia, who is still receiving dialysis treatment for a renal disease, was going to receive the kidney in exchange for up to £7,000 ($8,800).
The young man also revealed to the police that he had believed he was traveling to the UK for employment before being recruited by a doctor who worked for the politician. It wasn’t until he was escorted to London’s Royal Free Hospital last year, the court was told.
After preliminary testing revealed he would not be a qualified donor, he escaped and slept out on the streets for three days.
The victim eventually found his way into a police station in May, according to the testimony given in court, and declared that he was “looking for someone to save my life.”
Ike Ekweremadu told the jury that he believed he was being “scammed,” despite the four defendants’ attorneys’ insistence that he was acting “altruistically.”
The London Metropolitan Police detained Ekweremadu and his family in June 2022, according to Newsmen, and they were subsequently charged with planning to bring the victim to London so they could take advantage of him for his kidney.
They allegedly tried to persuade medical staff at the Royal Free Hospital in London to carry out a $80,000 transplant on the donor, who was introduced as Sonia’s cousin.
However, Ekweremadu and his wife apologized for saying the donor was a relative throughout the trial. The individual and other potential donors were considered as “disposable assets – spare parts for reward,” according to the prosecutor, Hugh Davies, who testified in court.
Prior to the court’s decision today, Sonia, Ekweremadus’ daughter, received a pardon when the jury exonerated her of the same allegation after over 14 hours of deliberation.
Sadly, the 25-year-old woman waved tearfully at her parents on Friday as they were escorted out the court.
In Britain, taking organs for sale is a serious crime. Naija News is aware that a life sentence is the harshest punishment possible for the crime.
Although kidney donation is lawful in the UK, doing it for monetary or material gain is against the law. According to information obtained by this news outlet, the case of Ekweremadu and family is the first instance of an organ harvesting conspiracy being accused under the UK’s 2015 Modern Slavery Act.
Recall that since 2003, Ekweremadu has served as the opposition Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) representative for the Enugu West constituency in southeast Nigeria.
From the start of the trial to the very last moment of the UK court’s decision today, notable Nigerian individuals and organizations begged for the former lawmaker to be given compassion.
Prior to their imprisonment in the United Kingdom (UK), the former Deputy Senate President and his wife, Beatrice, received support from the Nigerian Senate in their appeal for mercy.
Newsmen believes that Chukwuka Utazi, the Senate Minority Whip, had sponsored the motion that led to the decision of the upper legislative body.
The sentence of the legislator was set for Friday, May 5, at the Central Criminal Court, Old Bailey, London, and the MPs requested that the UK court balance justice with mercy.
In their argument, the leaders of Nigeria’s parliament stated that Ekweremadu was a first-time offender who had made significant contributions to West African politics.
Ekweremadu, his wife, and their accomplice are anticipated to serve the appropriate prison sentences as a result of the UK court’s verdicts, which were announced today.
When he was given a prison sentence, Ekweremadu was 60 years old, according to report.
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