The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has slammed the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, over his comment on the trial of the former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.
Naija News recalls that Ekweremadu is facing trial in the United Kingdom for alleged conspiracy to facilitate the travel of another person for organ harvesting.
UK prosecutors had accused the former Deputy Senate President of planning to have the kidney of a 21-year-old man removed so it could be given to their ailing daughter.
Speaking to State House correspondents last Thursday, Malami said the Nigerian Government would not interfere in the legal battle involving Ekweremadu. He added that Nigeria would only provide legal assistance if sought by the lawmaker.
Reacting in a statement on Sunday by its spokesman, Alex Ogbonnia, Ohanaeze berated Malami for saying that the Federal Government would not interfere in Ekweremdu’s case or anything judicial.
The Igbo organisation said that there is nothing beyond diplomatic redemption once the government shows its political will to address the situation.
Ohanaeze reminded Malami how Nigeria in late 2018 and 2019, brought her full diplomatic weight to bear in securing the release of Zainab Kila, a Nigerian lady, after 124 days in Saudi Arabia prison over alleged drug trafficking.
It noted that during Kila’s case, the President had directed the AGF and other key government agencies to intervene in the case which eventually saw to her release.
Ohanaeze, however, urged the government to secure the release of Ekweremadu and help transfer the case to Nigeria, especially when the country enjoys longstanding cordial relations with the UK.
The statement read in part: “We believe that Ekweremadu’s case should not be different, especially when Nigeria enjoys longstanding cordial relations with the UK, and all the individuals involved in the UK case are Nigerian nationals.
“We are curious that the AGF is making reference to Nigeria’s Child Rights Act more than a month after the UK Court ruled that the donor is not a child.
“One would expect Nigeria to feel scandalised by the initial contempt by the British authorities in discountenancing an official document of Nigeria on the ‘donor’s’ age in the first place and feel disrespected by the continued refusal to grant Ekweremadu bail for a clearly bailable offence.
“We reckon that Nigeria could never give the same treatment to a British parliamentarian of Ekweremadu’s pedigree.
“Ohanaeze believes that Ike Ekweremadu has served Nigeria meritoriously in various capacities while in the Senate as the Deputy President of the Senate; and the Speaker of the Economic Community of West Africa States, among others, and was decorated with the service honour of the Commander of the Federal Republic.
“The Nigerian government and indeed all Nigerians should know that a measured indignity to Ike Ekweremadu, an illustrious Igbo and a serving senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a sad denouement to Nigeria and indeed entire Africa.
“We urge the Federal Government of Nigeria led by President Muhammadu Buhari and Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, the Minister of Foreign Affairs; Nigeria High Commission in the UK, the Senate and House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to burnish their diplomatic channels in ensuring that Ekweremadu and his wife get the desired assistance by transferring the case to Nigeria.”