The United Kingdom Court has sentenced a former three-term Deputy President of the Senate in Nigeria, Ike Ekweremadu, to nine years and eight months imprisonment for an organ trafficking plot.
Also the court jailed the wife, Beatrice, for four years and six months due to her “more limited involvement” in the plot, as the court described Ekweremadu as the “driving force throughout” the process.
A medical doctor, Obinna Obeta, also bagged 10 years after the judge found that he had “targeted the potential donor, who was young, poor and vulnerable”.
The prosecutor, Hugh Davies KC, said the three defendants were guilty of trafficking with ‘the highest level of culpability’.
Ekweremadu, who served as the Deputy Speaker and Speaker of the Economic Community of West African State Parliament, ECOWAS, was arrested on June 23, 2022, by the London Metropolitan Police for reportedly ‘conspiring to bring a child to the UK for organ harvesting.
The police said investigation into the matter was launched after detectives were alerted to ‘potential offenses under the modern slavery legislation in May 2022’. It said the child had been safeguarded and it was working closely with partners on continued support.
His case was scheduled for further hearing on July 7, 2022, after which he was said to have been found guilty of the allegations and remanded in prison, awaiting sentencing.
Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor and National Modern Slavery Lead at the Crown Prosecution Service, Lynette Woodrow, said it had been their first conviction for trafficking for the purposes of organ removal in England and Wales”.
“With all trafficking offenses, the consent of the person trafficked is no defense. The law is clear; you cannot consent to your own exploitation,” Woodrow said.
The court said the doctor lied to doctors and falsely claimed the young potential donor was a cousin of the senator’s daughter, Sonia, who urgently needed a transplant.
The judge said the three left the potential donor facing a “substantial and long-term impact on his daily life”.