UK Court Declares Ekweremadu, Wife, Daughter Guilty Of Organ Harvesting
Nigeria’s former Deputy Senate president, Ike Ekweremadu, has been found guilty of organ trafficking by a United Kingdom court.
According to UK Guardian, the Nigerian politician and his wife, Beatrice, daughter Sonia and Obinna Obeta, a doctor involved in the case, conspired to bring the victim to London to exploit him for his kidney.
According to the publication, the jury found that Ekwerenmadu and others mentioned were guilty and would face the punishment for their offence, a case said to be the first verdict of its kind under the Modern Slavery Act.
Naija News learnt that the court, however, exonerate Sonia of the charges involving her parents. Recall that Ekweremadu and his family were arrested by the London Metropolitan Police in June 2022.
They were alleged to have attempted to convince doctors at the Royal Free Hospital in London to perform an £80,000 transplant on the donor who was presented as Sonia’s cousin.
During the trial, Ekweremadu and his wife apologised for claiming that the donor was a relative. Hugh Davies, the prosecutor, told the court the Ekweremadus and Obeta had treated the man and other potential donors as “disposable assets – spare parts for reward”.
He added that they entered an “emotionally cold commercial transaction” with the 21-year-old.
The prosecutor said Ekweremadu, a lawyer and lawmaker, “agreed to reward someone for a kidney for his daughter – somebody in circumstances of poverty and from whom he distanced himself and made no inquiries, and with whom, for his own political protection, he wanted no direct contact.
“What he agreed to do was not simply expedient in the clinical interests of his daughter, Sonia, it was exploitation, it was criminal.
“It is no defence to say he acted out of love for his daughter. Her clinical needs cannot come at the expense of the exploitation of somebody in poverty.”
Throughout the trial, Ekweremadu denied all accusations and maintained that he was the victim of a scam.
Obeta, who also denied the charge, claimed the man was not offered a reward for his kidney and was acting altruistically. Beatrice vehemently denied knowing anything about the purported conspiracy. Sonia did not enter any defence after presenting the court with a medical report claiming she is unfit for trial.
However, the presiding judge, Jeremy Johnson, has reserved sentencing to a later date.
Naija News understands that under the UK’s Modern Slavery system Act 2015, organ harvesting is punishable with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.