House of Reps Begs for Clemency for Ekweremadu Ahead May 5 Sentencing
By Adedapo Adesanya
The House of Representatives has pleaded for clemency for the former Deputy Senate President, Mr Ike Ekweremadu, ahead of the sentencing in the United Kingdom on May 5.
A member of the House, Mr Toby Okechukwu, moved the motion on Tuesday on the floor of the parliament based on the long-standing history and cordial ties between Nigeria and the United Kingdom.
The lawmaker also drew attention to what he described as Mr Ekweremadu’s contributions to the Commonwealth of Nations and his innocent intention to save the life of his sick daughter, Sonia.
He said there should be back channels for diplomatic interventions.
Mr Okechukwu insisted that the former Deputy Senate President has come to the aid of many Nigerians in the past.
On his part, the Speaker of the House, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, spoke to the crown and pleaded for clemency for Mr Ekweremadu, describing him as a good man with no prior convictions.
He asked the UK court to take into consideration the history of rightful living of Mr Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice.
He also asked that consideration for their daughter be made, who is sick and would likely be away from her parents under whose care she is.
Business Post reported that Mr Ekweremadu, 60, his wife Beatrice, 56, and their medical middleman, Dr Obinna Obeta, 50, were convicted of conspiring to exploit a young man for his kidney in the first such case under modern slavery laws.
The organ was for the couple’s 25-year-old daughter, identified as Miss Sonia Ekweremadu, but the Old Bailey cleared her of the same charge.
The victim, a street trader from Lagos, was brought to the UK last year to provide a kidney in an £80,000 private transplant at the Royal Free Hospital in London.
He said he was promised opportunities in the UK for assistance and that he only realised what was going on when he met doctors at the hospital.
Mr Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice, were arrested on June 23, 2022, and were charged with conspiracy to traffic a person for organ harvesting in violation of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
The court also revealed that Dr Obeta charged the Ekweremadus a sum of N4.5 million (about £8,000) under the guise of an agent fee and donor fee.