Ekweremadu was arrested with $20,000 in his possession.
On Tuesday, June 21, 2022, former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu were arrested at Heathrow airport over an alleged child organ harvesting plot.
The senator and his wife were transiting to Turkey when the Metropolitan Police accosted and arrested them at the airport.
The police had gone after the couple after they were alerted to potential offences under modern slavery laws last month.
Two days after their arrest, the 60-yr-old senator and his wife were arraigned at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, June 23, 2022.
During their arraignment, it was revealed that the victim, a homeless child, is a 15-yr-old boy from Lagos.
In a letter dated December 28, 2021, addressed to the British High Commission and purportedly signed by the lawmaker, the name of the boy was given as Ukpo Nwamini David.
The letter was written to the commission to facilitate David’s travel to the United Kingdom to donate his kidney to Ekweremadu’s daughter, Sonia, who is suffering from kidney failure.
But the letter, which surfaced on social media hours after the news broke to debunk the claim that David was trafficked to the UK, did not state the age of the organ donor.
David is currently under the care of safeguarding authorities and the Metropolitan Police.
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How it all started
The politician’s daughter, Sonia Ekweremadu who has been on dialysis for a while needs a kidney donor and her parents procured a UK visa for David to donate his kidney to her.
The Ekweremadus were said to have promised David a better life in the UK.
The kidney transplant was meant to take place at the Royal Free Hospital, London.
But the doctor billed to perform the transplant suspended the procedure after learning that David is a minor.
The hospital, thereafter, returned the boy to the custody of the family who, according to Arise TV, ‘treated him badly.
The boy reportedly ran away and slept on the streets for two days before the MET police took him into their custody.
Details of the court hearing
The 60-yr-old senator and his 55-yr-old accountant wife were charged with conspiracy to transport a child into the United Kingdom in order to harvest organs and were arraigned at Uxbridge Magistrate Court on Thursday.
During the court hearing, the prosecuting counsel, Damla Ayas maintained that the victim is a 15-yr-old child, adding that Ekweremadu was arrested with $20,000 in his possession.
The prosecutor also told the court that the senator procured a passport for the boy and claimed he was 21-yr-old but discovered that he was 15.
Ayas said, ‘It is conspiracy in relation to human trafficking offences for the purposes of organ harvesting. The victim, in this case, is 15 years old
‘They, the couple, were interviewed at the police station. Both of the defendants have provided a prepared statement.
Mr Ekweremadu in his prepared statement denied allegations of human trafficking.
‘He said at no stage has he arranged transport for anyone with the intention to exploit them.’
Gavin Irwin, representing Ekweremadu, said: ‘There is no question this is a serious allegation. Mr Ekweremadu is a member of the senate in Nigeria.
‘He has previously held an even more senior role as deputy president of the senate.
‘He is a member of the bar in Nigeria. He is a principal in a law firm that bears his name.
Those issues taken together go way beyond him being a person of good character…rather that he has led a blameless life as a public servant.’
Antonia Gray, the defence counsel for Mrs Ekweremadu, said her client has an unblemished record and has never been involved in illegal trafficking of any young person.
‘She has never been complicit or involved in any alleged illegal trafficking of any young person.
‘She is a financial accountant…with an unblemished record,’ Gray said.
After the counsel for both sides had presented their argument, Magistrate Lois Sheard said: ‘These are serious allegations and these matters are now adjourned until 7 July back here at Uxbridge.’
Ms Sheard, therefore, remanded both defendants in custody ahead of their hearing next month.
Ekweremadu, wife risk long jail term if convicted
Since the former Deputy Senate President and his wife are accused of conspiracy to harvest an organ of a minor, the couple may face life imprisonment if found guilty and convicted to maximum sentence under the United Kingdom’s Modern Slavery Act 2015.
According to the Act, “A person guilty of an offence under Section 1 or 2 is liable (a)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for life; (b)on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or a fine or both.”