United Kingdom court convicts Ekweremadu, wife for organ trafficking

The United Kingdom Court has convicted the former Deputy President of the Nigerian Senate, Senator  Ike Ekweremadu, his wife, and a Doctor for  organ trafficking, the first verdict of its kind under the Modern Slavery Act.

Penpushing reports that the court was quoted saying that the accused were found guilty of facilitating the travel of a young man David Nwamini (Ukpo) to Britain with a view to his exploitation after a six-week trial at the Old Bailey in the country

The judge, Jeremy Johnson found that the accused persons criminally conspired to bring the 21-year-old David Nwamini (Ukpo), a Lagos street trader to London to exploit him for his kidney, while it is also recalled that Ekeremadu was arrested and charged by Metropolitan Police last June for conspiracy to traffic.

Penpushing further reports that based on the details provided by the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) and Westminster Magistrate Court last June and July respectively the victim (Nwamini) was not a minor, but was offered an illegal reward to become a donor for Ekweremadu’s daughter who has a kidney disease that forced her to drop out of a master’s degree in film at Newcastle University.

“In February 2022 the man was falsely presented to a private renal unit at Royal Free hospital in London as Sonia’s cousin in a failed attempt to persuade medics to carry out an £80,000 transplant. For a fee, a medical secretary at the hospital acted as an Igbo translator between the man and the doctors to help try to convince them he was an altruistic donor, the court heard,” UK Guardian reported.

Penpushing also reports that the prosecutor Hugh Davies told the court that the Ekweremadus and Obeta had treated the man and other potential donors as disposable assets, spare parts for reward, adding that he said they entered an emotionally cold commercial transaction with the man.

The prosecutor added that the behaviour of Ekweremadu, a successful lawyer and founder of an anti-poverty charity who helped draw up Nigeria’s laws against organ trafficking, showed entitlement, dishonesty and hypocrisy.

Penpushing reports that he stated that Ekweremadu, who owns several properties and had a staff of 80, 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’, Davies declared

Penpushing further reports that the former Senate President however, denied the charge, claiming he was the victim of a scam, while in similar vein, the Doctor, (Obeta), who also denied the charge, claimed the man was not offered a reward for his kidney and was acting altruistically.

The wife of the former Senate President Beatrice, equally denied any knowledge of the alleged conspiracy while his daughter, Sonia, did not give evidence, but WhatsApp messages shown to the court showed that the Doctor charged Ekweremadu N4.5 million (about £8,000) made up of an agent fee and a donor fee.

Penpushing also reports the duo of Ekweremadu and Obeta later admitted to falsely claiming Nwamini was Sonia’s cousin in his visa application and in documents presented to the hospital, while the prosecution lawyer, said Ekweremadu ignored medical advice to find a donor for his daughter among genuine family members.

The judge will pass a sentence at a later date, while the prosecutor, however, posited that at no point in time was there ever any intention for a family member close, medium or distant to do what could be paid for from a pool of donors.

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