Organ harvesting: Ekweremadu remanded after appearing in UK Court for a second time
The former Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu on Thursday remanded in custody after appearing in court in London for a second time charged with arranging to bring a child to the UK for organ donation.
Ike Ekweremadu, 60, stood in the dock at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court wearing a grey tracksuit and holding a bible and spoke twice during his appearance to confirm his name and date of birth.
The prosecutor claims that David Ukpo, who alleged that he was coerced to donate his kidney to the Senator’s daughter, is 15 years.
According to court, David was allegedly picked up off the street in Lagos by a criminal gang some months ago with the intention of organ harvesting.
Ekweremadu was remanded in custody as the court argued that he is an influential person, a flight risk and the case involves a child and modern slavery.
The case has been adjourned to July 7 at Westminster Magistrate Court to enable the UK Attorney General, Suella Braverman, to determine whether the case will be tried in the country or Nigeria.
No bail application was made and Mr Ekweremadu will remain in custody.
Part of the alleged offence was committed abroad and as a result, the consent of the Attorney General is required for the case to continue.
He faces a charge of conspiracy to arrange or facilitate the travel of another person for exploitation under the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
Mr Ekweremadu’s wife Beatrice, 55, is charged with arranging or facilitating the travel of another person for exploitation and will appear in court later due to a delay in her transport from prison.
A large delegation from the Nigeria High Commission was also present in the public gallery alongside the Senator’s two adult children.
On Wednesday, the Senate had said it was sending a delegation to visit Ekweremadu and his wife.
Senate President Ahmad Lawan said this after a closed-door session of the lawmakers in Abuja. He explained that members of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs will be travelling to the UK soon.
“There will be a delegation to London to see Senator Ike Ekweremadu and his wife. A delegation from the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Senate will leave in the next two days for London for that purpose,” Lawan said.
“I want to urge all federal government institutions that can do anything to ensure that justice prevails in this case, that they do so.”
He also said the Nigerian High Commission has engaged the services of lawyers in the UK to defend Senator Ekweremadu.
“I had a personal engagement with our Nigerian High Commissioner to Britain, Alhaji Isola Sarafa, who has done so well to establish contact with our colleague, who has been able to get his team to be in the court at Uxbridge where Ekweremadu was taken to,” Lawan added
“The high Commission has also been able to provide some consular services that include the engagement of some lawyers who will defend our colleague.
“We commend them for giving attention to the issue at stake. Equally, the Nigeria Foreign Affairs Minister has been engaged here, so that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs takes steps to provide diplomatic support for our colleague.
“Because this issue is already in court, we have limited opportunity to discuss beyond what we have done so far.
“But I want to ensure the family of our colleague, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, and Nigerians, that the Senate will continue to engage with our ministry of foreign affairs as well as our high commission in London. The High Commission has done so much but we still expect that it will continue to provide any other further consular services.”
Earlier this week the Nigerian Immigration Authority denied the victim was a child.
The comptroller general, Idriss Jerre, said the victim’s birth certificate and National Identity Number, which were presented during registration for his passport, showed that he was 21 years old.
In response, the Metropolitan Police said the child was 15.