They plotted to traffic a young man to the UK to harvest his organ for their sick daughter A wealthy Nigerian politician and his wife have been jailed for plotting to traffic a young man to the UK to harvest his organ for their sick daughter. Following a landmark modern slavery case, multi-millionaire Senator and former University of Lincoln visiting professor, Ike Ekweremadu, 60, his wife Beatrice, 56, and medical “middleman” Dr, were found guilty at the Old Bailey in March.
Ike Ekweremadu, former deputy senate president has been sentenced to nine years and eight months in prison for organ trafficking. The sentencing was done on Friday at the Central Criminal Court, Old Bailey, UK.
Ekweremadu’s wife, Beatrice, was sentenced to four years and six months in jail, BBC reports. The jury held that they conspired to bring the 21-year-old at the centre of the matter to London to exploit him for his kidney. The verdict is the first of its kind under the Modern Slavery Act 2015 of the UK.
The Ekweremadus was 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 the cousin of their daughter Sonia.
During the trial, Hugh Davies, the prosecutor, told the court that 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, offering him up to £7,000 in reward.
Although the couple apologised for claiming that the donor was a relative, they denied all accusations and maintained that they were 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.
Sonia, Ekweremadu’s 25-year-old daughter, did not enter any defence after presenting the court with a medical report claiming she is unfit for trial. She was not convicted.
Between the conviction and sentencing, notable personalities around the world including former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Abike Dabiri-Erewa, chairperson of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), appealed to the UK government to be lenient with the Ekweremadus.
The Senate, House of Representatives, International Human Rights Commission (IHRC), as well as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) parliament, also asked the UK court to “temper justice with mercy” and consider valuable contributions made by the lawmaker in Nigeria and West Africa.
Author: Dr. Funmi Beckley