The judge told the defendants:‘You each played a part in that despicable trade’ A wealthy Nigerian politician and two others have been jailed for plotting to harvest a man’s kidney, as the victim hit back at the trio telling them “My body is not for sale”.
Senator Ike Ekweremadu, 60, his wife Beatrice, 56, and medical “middleman” Dr. Obinna Obeta, 51, were found guilty at the Old Bailey of conspiring to arrange the travel of a young man with a view to exploiting him for his body part.
The Ekweremadus’ 25-year-old daughter, Sonia, who has a severe kidney disease and was the intended recipient of the organ, was present in court alongside her older brother Lloyd and other members of the family.
It is the first conviction of its kind under the Modern Slavery Act and carried a maximum life sentence.
Mr. Ekweremadu, who owns £6 million worth of properties in the UK, the United States, and the United Arab Emirates, was jailed for a total of nine years and 8 months, while his wife, wearing a purple shirt and black cardigan was sentenced to 4 years and six months imprisonment. Obeta wept as he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.
The victim’s impact statement was read in court revealing his humble background in a Lagos village where he is the oldest of seven siblings living in a home without electricity or running water.
He was forced to become a street trader full-time, moving to the city to provide for his family when his father fell ill with a heart problem. He sold mobile phone accessories from a wheelbarrow making at most £7 a day and as little as 50p.
He said he was approached with an opportunity to work in the UK, something he had “always dreamed of but never thought would happen”.
However, he was later shocked to discover the reason for the trip was to harvest his organs to give to Sonia.
“He [Dr Obina Obeta] did not tell me he brought me here for this reason, he did not tell me anything about this. I would have not agreed to any of this, my body is not for sale,” the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said.
He added that he cannot return to Nigeria as the Ekweremadus were very dangerous and he was worried for his safety. He said someone had visited his father in Nigeria and asked him to get his son to drop the case.
“I worry for my safety in Nigeria, those people can do anything. I think they could arrest me or kill me in Nigeria,” the court heard.
He told police he did not want to claim compensation from the “bad people” as it would be “cursed and bad luck”.He said: “My plan now is to work and to get an education and to play football.”
Author: Linda .R. Jones