Ekweremadu: Trial in it’s penultimate week
The ongoing “conspiracy to facilitate and arrange travel with the aim of exploitation” trial of former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, his wife, Beatrice, their daughter, Sonia and Dr Obinna Obeta, will come to an end next week.
Though it was scheduled to be for seven weeks, beginning from Monday, January 31st, but it will go over into it’s eight week next Monday. The jury will be sent out anytime from then. On Friday afternoon , Mr. Justice Johnson gave the jurors an update on the revised scheduled just before sending them home for the weekend.
Shortly after Gavin Owen- one of the Senator’s barristers- chipped in another defence effort by reading the three character references from the trio of Dr Clement Agbo, Ifeanyi Nwanbueze and Chuka Akume, the Judge turned in the direction of the seven women and five-men jury, to inform them that the trial will overrun by a week. “I think our best bet is we’ll be retiring in the early part of the upper week.”
But before it will be time to turn the matter over into their hands, he’s expected to have summed up. Johnson’s summing up may begin anytime from Thursday or before. Thus, there’s still a window of opportunity of a couple of more days for both the prosecution and defence to throw in all they have to impress the jurors. But neither wanted to leave it till the last minute.
Both sides made the most of last week when the Senator was in the witness stand from Monday through Friday. On Friday, the Crown prosecutor, Hugh Davies, KC posed a couple of questions to connect the conspiracy allegation dots. In one of such exchanges while cross-examining Ekweremadu, Davies, referred to the February 24th meeting that David Nwamini had with Dr DuPont at the Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead.
The prosecutor cited part of the evidence to say Diwe briefed the senator about the outcome of the appointment and “copies Beatrice Ekweremadu.” He went further to say: “your wife is fully integrated.” Ekweremadu replied and told him: “my wife never met with Evelyn,” and “didn’t know what they were talking about.”
The prosecutor threw in another, cited a copy of the affidavit that Diwe forwarded to Sonia on March 2nd, which in turn was to be given to Nwamini. Asked “were you aware that document – that they were maternal cousins- was sent to David to make the process easier?” Ekweremadu said: “ I wasn’t aware of that. But aware of the affidavit , which she didn’t sign.” The Senator noted that: “my daughter has nothing to do with it.”
Asked “who do you think manufactured the document?” The Senator replied with: “I have no idea.” Ekweremadu told the jury, “I just want to make it clear that my daughter doesn’t know anything about the document.”
During Obeta’s own evidence, the prosecution said it was the model that the doctor used to get his own kidney transplant done in July 2021. Obeta was said to have got a false affidavit claiming his donor, Friday Ogbuchi, was his maternal cousin and that allowed the Human Tissue Authority to approve the donor. The Crown claimed that’s the model he sold the Ekweremadus.
Archbishop Akinwale said, “You are an epitome of excellence, a good and visionary leader. We, the Christians in this country are very proud of you. We celebrate you; you are a man of great humility and a pastor to the core. Thank you for coming to honour God on this day. When I visited you, you promised that you would be here. You are a nobleman, a man of intellect. May the Lord God continue to bless you and may your days be long.
“I pray for you that under your watch, this country will not disintegrate. Under your watch, the Lord will preserve this country to be greater and better, regardless of the current challenges.”
Other dignitaries present at the service besides the Prelate of the Methodist Church in Nigeria, His Eminence, Oliver Abba, were the former Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, His Eminence, John Cardinal Onaiyekan; former Prelates of the Methodist Church in Nigeria; Dr Samuel Kanu-Uche, Sunday Makinde, among other bishops and other members of the clergy.
June 18, 2023, despite the devastating effects of the earthquake.