By Uche Amunike
The London Metropolitan Police have charged Nigeria’s former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu and wife, Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu with conspiracy to traffic a child to the United Kingdom with the intent of harvesting her organs, Thursday.
According to the Metropolitan Police, the chargers followed an investigation made by their specialist crime team who came up with the following details as to why the duo were accosted:
‘[A] Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu, 55 (10.9.66) of Nigeria is charged with conspiracy to arrange/facilitate travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting.’
[B] Ike Ekweremadu, 60 (12.05.62) of Nigeria is charged with conspiracy to arrange/facilitate travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting.’
‘The investigation was launched after detectives were alerted to potential offences under modern slavery legislation in May 2022,’ the police said.
According to the Pandora papers investigation, Life and Times gathered that Mr Ekweremadu is resident in the UK. Also, the different biographical data provided are in sync with the publicly-available personal data the former Senate President and his wife.
The 15year old victim whose travel was facilitated to the UK by Ekweremadu and wife was said to be a homeless boy whom they picked up from the streets of Lagos under false pretense, having made him promises of giving him a better life in the UK.
However, reports say that the Senator’s daughter suffers from kidney failure and that was what made them to pull the victim off the streets of Lagos and then, facilitated his trip to the UK with the intent of transplanting his organs to be donated to their ailing daughter.
According to reports, Senator Ekweremadu notified the authorities of the UK High Commission, when he applied for the young boy’s visa, that he was transporting the victim abroad for a kidney transplant for his daughter, Ms Sonia Ekweremadu. He made it clear in the letter that was submitted with the visa application of the alleged homeless boy.
According to the letter, he indicated that the visa applicant was scheduled for medical investigations for a kidney donation to his daughter. They also stated in the letter that both the donor and his daughter will be at the Royal Free Hospital, London and that he would be providing the necessary funding. He enclosed a statement of his bank account and stated that the commission should contact him in case they needed additional information.
Ekweremadu and wife have however appeared before Uxbridge Magistrate Court, Thursday but denied bail and remanded in custody.
The prosecutor, Damla Ayas stated that it was a conspiracy in relation to human trafficking offences for the purposes of organ harvesting.
According to him, the victim is just 15 years old and therefore, a minor.
Gavin Irwin, Ekweremadu’s representative submitted thus: ‘there is no question this is a serious allegation. Mr Ekweremadu is a member of the Senate in Nigeria.’
‘He has previously held an even more senior role as Deputy President of the Senate.’
‘He is a member of the bar in Nigeria. He is a principal in a law firm that bears his name. Those issues taken to that go way beyond him being a person of good character, brother but he has led a blameless life as a public servant.’
While he referred to the allegations as nothing short of preposterous, his wife’s representative said, ‘she has never been complacent or involved in any alleged illegal trafficking of any young person.
She’s a financial accountant with an unblemished record.’
They are both still in custody until their next appointment on July 7, 2022.