Former Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Muhammad Babandede, has reacted to the arrest of ex-Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu amid controversy of alleged organ harvesting.
Babandede, who appeared on Arise TV on Friday morning, insisted that Ekweremadu’s issue is a case of trafficking and not only a passport issue, adding that it needs to be analyzed.
Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice, were arrested at Heathrow Airport, London, and tried in court for allegedly plotting to harvest the kidney of a Nigerian minor.
But, the duo pleaded not guilty to the charges at the Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court.
Magistrate Lois Sheard remanded both defendants in custody ahead of their hearing on July 7th.
However, the Nigerian lawmaker denied the allegations of organ harvesting, while sharing a letter to the UK High Commission in Nigeria requesting a visa for the alleged minor involved.
“I will be very specific to you that this issue is a case of trafficking issue, not only passports. The Metropolitan police are accusing Mr and Mrs Ekweremadu of trafficking a person for organ harvesting. And when we talk about trafficking, there are many issues involved, we are talking about the act itself, the process and the purpose,” Babandede said.
“So you need to analyze this before you even talk about the passport. Trafficking simply means you take a person from one place to another place by force with the intent of exploitation.
“So the issue is that even if that person was a child, let’s assume like it is being circulated because we cannot say it is in the court of law.
“The truth of the matter is that what you declare to the Immigration is what the Immigration gives if we can prove that the person left Nigeria as a child and a passport was obtained to him as an adult even if he is a child.
“It means his consent was irrelevant even if he has given consent that he wants to donate because I have seen a letter circulated on social media which says that Ekweremadu has given a letter to the British High Commissioner that he wants to take him out in terms of transplant which means consent is there from the adult.
“So in trafficking, even if an adult consent is given, it could still be in the UK as a case of trafficking, but if that person was a child it has been circulated that the child was a 15-year-old somebody forged the passport in Nigeria. It depends on cooperation between Nigeria and the UK.”