UK court denies Ekweremadu, wife bail over child trafficking, organ harvesting
• UK authorities yet to inform us on Ekweremadu’s case, says NAPTIP
• MASSOB: We are ashamed of his action
Former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, alongside his wife, Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu, were, yesterday, denied bail and remanded in custody by a United Kingdom court over allegation bordering on organ trafficking and harvesting. Organ harvesting involves removing parts of the body, often, for commercial gain and against the victim’s will.
The UK Metropolitan Police formally charged Ekweremadu and his wife with conspiracy to facilitate the travel of another person for organ harvesting in the UK.
The two were arrested and charged over their plan to bring a child into the UK to allegedly harvest the said child’s organs.
The charges involve arranging or facilitating travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting, according to a Met statement, yesterday.
The victim, whose travel was facilitated to UK by the suspects, was said to be a homeless 15-year-old boy picked from the streets of Lagos under false pretense. The statement added that the investigation was launched after detectives were alerted to potential offences under modern slavery legislation in May 2022.
The BBC reported that when the suspects appeared at the Uxbridge magistrates court in West London and were asked by the clerk for their address, they both replied: “Nigeria”.
The case has been adjourned to July 7 while Ekweremadu and his wife will remain in custody after their bail applications were denied.
Police, however, said the child has been safeguarded but did not disclose the gender or the age of the child or the location of the arrests.
Unconfirmed report, however, had it that the duo has a child that needs kidney transplant, but the couple did not follow due process in transporting the victim to the UK to donate his kidney for the sick child.
Another report suggested that the Senator, who represents Enugu West Senatorial zone, having found a willing donor made travel preparations for the unnamed person and wrote to the British High Commission explaining the situation.
“The donor travelled to the UK with the patient (Ekweremadu’s daughter) but the organ did not match. Not wanting to return to Nigeria, the donor went to report that he was trafficked to London for possible organ harvest, believing same would guarantee him asylum,” Ikem Okuhu, a journalist and public relations expert explained.
THE National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has disclosed that UK authorities are yet to inform them about the former Deputy Senate President and his wife’s alleged organ harvest case. A top source in the agency who pleaded anonymity told The Guardian that the UK authorities were yet to inform them about it.
However, the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) has expressed delight over the arrest and detention of the Senator and his wife in London.
Reacting, MASSOB said Ekweremadu is suffering from the sabotage campaign he is leading against national justice and Peter Obi emerging as the next president of Nigeria.
Shock and disbelief trailed the news of the arrests and detention of Ekweremadu and his wife. The latest ordeal of the lawmaker, who recently lost the bid to fly the governorship flag of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Enugu, took the centre stage for discussions, yesterday, even as efforts to get official reaction on the matter failed.
His aides chose to maintain sealed lips on the development. Uche Anichukwu, his media aide, failed to respond to several calls put to his mobile number yesterday, but one of his supporters, spotted around his residence on Independence layout, Enugu, described the development as ‘tragic’.
He told The Guardian on condition of anonymity: “This world is strange. A lot has happened to our boss in recent times but I know he will be vindicated.”
Also, Emeritus President General of Aka Ikenga, Chief Goddy Uwazurike, who described the story as ‘strange’, called for thorough investigation of the matter.
Uwazurike, who further stated that the lawmaker and his wife are presumed innocent until proven guilty, added, “they may be helping the young boy in his bid to escape since they were arrested at the airport. What I cannot fathom is how organ harvest is attached to it. It is not a good story. It is a destructive story that will take time to be forgotten. It is damaging.
“Unfortunately, it is about two years since the first incident happened in Germany. That is why I have called for a thorough investigation, so as to unravel the truth and not to give a dog a bad name to hang it.”