Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice. (file photo)
.Wife, doctor to spend 14 years in jail
‘The trio of Ekweremadu, Beatrice and Obeta were convicted of conspiracy to arrange the travel of a young Nigerian man who was identified as David Nwamini to Britain to exploit him for his kidney’
By Valentine Amanze
The political career of Nigeria’s former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, is over as he would be spending nine years and eight months in jail for plotting to harvest a man’s kidney for his sick daughter.
In Nigeria’s law, any one convicted of crime in a court of competent jurisdiction would not qualify for any electoral office again.
A UK court on Friday pronounced Ekweremadu, 60, guilty along with his wife, Beatrice, 56, and medical doctor, Obinna Obeta.
Beatrice was handed four years, six months sentence, while Obeta got 10 years’ sentence for the same offence.
The trio of Ekweremadu, Beatrice and Obeta were convicted of conspiracy to arrange the travel of a young Nigerian man who was identified as David Nwamini to Britain to exploit him for his kidney.
The organ was needed for Ekweremadu’s sick daughter, Sonia, 25.
Ekweremadu’s case was said to be the first of such under modern slavery laws.
During a televised sentence hearing, BBC reported that Mr Justice Johnson recognised Ike Ekweremadu’s “substantial fall from grace”.
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He described the politician as someone of high office with multiple properties, domestic staff, maids, chefs and drivers, compared with the victim who could not afford a £25 ticket to travel to Abuja.
Obeta, he said, had lied to doctors and falsely claimed the young potential donor was a cousin of the senator’s daughter who urgently needed a transplant.
The three had left the potential donor facing a “substantial and long term impact on his daily life”, he said.
“People-trafficking across international borders for the harvesting of human organs is a form of slavery,” the judge added.
Sonia Ekweremadu was cleared of wrongdoing and watched her parents being sentenced from the public gallery, according to BBC.
Their victim, a poor street trader in Lagos, was brought to the UK to provide a kidney for the Ekweremadus’ daughter.
He fled in fear of his life and walked into a police station exactly a year ago to report what had happened after the Royal Free Hospital called a halt to the private £80,000 procedure.
In a personal statement, the 21-year-old Nigerian market trader, had told the court that he used to “pray every day” to be given the opportunity to come to the UK to work or study.
He said to “make it happen” he agreed to medical tests in Lagos and meetings with doctors in London, believing they were required for his UK visa during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 21-year-old said that he only realised what was planned when he met doctors at the Royal Free Hospital in London, who began discussing a kidney transplant.
He told the court that he would not had have agreed to it, adding: “My body is not for sale.”
The victim is now being helped by a charity in the UK, according to his lawyer in Nigeria.
In his statement made available to BBC, he said he “can’t think about going home to Nigeria”, as “these people are extremely powerful and I worry for my safety”.
He also refused to apply for financial compensation from the Ekweremadu family, telling a detective he “did not need or want anything from the bad people,” according to BBC report.