In continuation of his trial over allegations of organ harvesting, three-time Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu appears before UK Court alongside wife
A former Deputy President of the Nigerian Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, has appeared before the Central Criminal Court, United Kingdom in continuation of his trial over allegations of organ harvesting.
The lawmaker’s wife, Beatrice and 51-year-old Obinna Obeta, said to have been arrested weeks ago on charges related to slavery and exploitation also appeared before the court on Thursday.
Ekweremadu and his wife, are facing charges bordering on conspiracy to arrange/facilitate the travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting. Ekweremadu’s wife was however granted bail on July 22.
Following Thursday’s trial, the Central Criminal Court in the UK adjourned the case till October 31, with the Senator remaining in custody. Pre-trial applications on the case have been slated to be heard on October 31, while trial will commence fully on May 2, 2023.
The case came to public knowledge on June 23 after Ekweremadu and his wife were arrested by the Metropolitan Police at Heathrow Airport on arrival into the UK from Turkey. He was, however, in possession of a diplomatic passport, raising questions on whether the case contravened the Vienna Convention and Diplomatic Immunity.
The case earlier began on May 5 when the alleged trafficked victim, David Nwamini, handed himself to the police authorities on the grounds that he was being coerced into giving his organs despite being under-aged (15).
Temporary respite however came the way of the Ekweremadus as the Westminster Magistrates’ Court ruled that the alleged trafficked victim is not a minor. This development came after the Nigerian government provided records to prove that Nwamini was 21 years old, and not a minor.
Despite the ruling, the lawmaker still faces charges of conspiring to traffick a person for organ harvesting in violation of the Modern Slavery Act 2015. Sources however report that the lawmaker has asked that a new lawyer represent him.
Prosecutors had said that the couple has a daughter with a kidney-related disease who has been on dialysis for quite some time. The British authorities believe the plan was to use an organ from the boy on their daughter who needs a kidney transplant.
Ekweremadu, representing Enugu West Senatorial District in the National Assembly, is likely to remain in custody till May 2023. His appearance Thursday, in the UK Court is the third time since his arrest.