UK court remand Ekweremadu, wife over alleged organ trafficking

Former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, alongside his wife, Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu, has been denied bail and remanded in custody by a United Kingdom court over allegation bordering on organ trafficking.

The UK Metropolitan Police had formally charged Ekweremadu and his wife with conspiracy to facilitate the travel of another person for organ harvesting in the UK.

Ekweremadu and his wife 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 on Thursday.

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 reports that when the suspects appeared at the Uxbridge magistrates court in west London on Thursday and were asked by the clerk for their address, they both replied: “Nigeria”.

The court heard the prosecution needed permission to proceed because of jurisdiction issues, according to the BBC report.

“In respect of these offences, the (UK) Attorney General’s consent is required and the Crown require 14 days for that to be obtained,” Prosecutor Damla Ayas told the court.

Most of the alleged offences took place in the UK, magistrates heard.

The Ekweremadus, who were arrested two days ago, have been remanded in custody to appear at the same court on July 7.

The suspects were arrested at Heathrow airport on their way to Instabul. Reports claim they were planning to procure a kidney from a donor in Turkey, after their initial plan failed.

When arrested, Ekweremadu was said to be in possession of $20,000.

The lawmaker, a member of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, has been a senator since 2003. He served as Deputy President of the Senate from 2007 to 2019.

He was also recently made a visiting professor at the University of Lincoln.

Ekweremadu was recently in the news after saying the South-East region would not vote for the presidential candidate of Labour Party, Peter Obi, in 2023.

Before his comment on Obi, the embattled lawmaker withdrew from the 2023 governorship race in Enugu State after he failed to win the PDP’s ticket.

Ekweremadu was born on May 12 at Amachara Mpu in Aninri Local Government Area of Enugu State.

He holds both Bachelor and Masters’ degrees in law from the University of Nigeria and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1987.