Ekweremadu: Don joins Obasanjo to plead for clemency
Fellow and Visiting Scholar, Human Rights Institute, Columbia University, New York, Nnamdi Obiaraeri, has joined former President Olusegun Obasanjo in pleading for clemency to former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, his wife and doctor in connection with their conviction in the organ harvesting case in London.
In an 11-paragraph statement entitled ‘Plea of allocutus for the Ekweremadus: I am 100 per cent with former President OBJ’ issued, yesterday, the former Dean, Faculty of Law, Imo State University (IMSU), Owerri, after reading the letter written by Obasanjo, said the best legal option was to temper justice with mercy.
The statement reads: “I was overcome with emotion reading the letter from Nigeria’s former President Obasanjo pleading with the British authorities for leniency in the oncoming sentencing of the convicted Ekweremadus.
“While I thank Obasanjo for taking that great initiative as an eminent global personality with persuasive authority, this is also to plead with the same British Authorities to temper justice with mercy.”
The former Imo Commissioner for Information stressed: “I know that legally and procedurally, it is for the Ekweremadus to enter their pleas for allocutus themselves in court before they are sentenced on May 5, 2023 wherein they will explain their conducts, apologise and/or say things in an effort to lessen the impending sentence. I believe they will be able to say persuasive things in mitigation of their sentences.”
Obiaraeri maintained that he had not known the Ekweremadus in any private, official or political capacity, but was pleading due to the mercy and compassion required.
“Unlike Obasanjo, I do not know the Ekweremadus in any private capacity. I have never had any official or political dealing with them before now. I am, however, moved by human considerations to truthfully say that the Ekweremadu family deserves all the mercy, compassion and pity in the rulebook now. A mother and father, who get convicted at the same time for trying to procure treatment for a dying child, albeit wrongfully, deserves some mitigation in their sentencing. It is a harrowing experience for the parents and sick child.”
The professor of Law held that the United Kingdom’s Modern Slavery Act 2015, was explicit in that, adding: “There is no doubt that with the conviction of the Ekweremadus, being the first persons to be so tried and convicted under the UK Modern Slavery Act, 2015, and given the global attention their arrest, detention, trial and conviction had generated, useful lessons have been learnt.
“Further, necessary international awareness has been created about the potency of that law made against organ harvesting in ways and manners not lawfully authorised.”
The don said he was joining persons of good conscience to maintain his plea. “I, therefore, join other men and women of good consciences to say that with the conviction of the Ekweremadus, justice has been served.
“Hence, in the sentencing, which is the only outstanding thing now, the Ekweremadus can be lawfully asked to ‘go and sin no more’ without the court having to impose the maximum sentence prescribed under the law.”
While thanking Obasanjo for his stance on the case, he said: “Once more, I thank the iconic former President Obasanjo for leading this plea for allocutus initiative. May the relevant British authorities be persuaded and swayed to temper justice with mercy. A new normal is possible!”