The Old Bailey Court in the United Kingdom has sentenced Ikeoha Ekweremadu to imprisonment for 10 years and 6 months. His wife, Beatrice, and Dr Obina Obeta have also received jail sentences of 6 years, 4 months and 10 years, respectively.
This updates the news earlier reported today by Expressive Info concerning the emotions escalating in Nigeria and Africa at large as the Ekweremadus await their judgement from the UK criminal court and appeals were being on their favour.
Expressive Info reported on June 2022 that Deputy Senate President Ikeoha Ekweremadu and his wife Beatrice were arrested in London for alleged organ harvesting in a bid to save their sick daughter, Sonia. It also reported that the jury found that they jointly conspired to bring a 21-year-old Lagos male hawker to London in order to use his kidney to save their daughter.
On March 2023, Expressive Info had also reported that Beatrice denied allegations of seeking an organ donor for her daughter.
The young man trafficked was said to have been falsely presented as Sonia’s cousin in a failed bid to persuade doctors to carry out an £80,000 private procedure at the Royal Free Hospital in London.
The young man was said to have been offered an illegal reward if he agrees to donate his kidney to Sonia, whose kidney disease forced her to quit her Master’s degree in film at Newcastle University.
Their initial conviction was the first verdict of its kind under the Modern Slavery Act.
Prosecutor Hugh Davies KC had also told the court that the Ekweremadus and Obeta had treated the man and other potential donors as mere “spare parts for reward.” He described their agreement with the young man as an “emotionally cold commercial transaction.” According to Davies, their behaviour depicted “entitlement, dishonesty and hypocrisy.”
He explained that their action was an exploitation that revealed selfishness, using a poor trader to save his daughter for a reward at the expense of the man’s life – someone he never cared about before. And calling upon him indirectly for the sake of not wanting to ruin his political image.
He added: “What he agreed to do was not simply expedient in the clinical interests of his daughter, Sonia, it was exploitation, it was criminal. It is no defence to say he acted out of love for his daughter. Her clinical needs cannot come at the expense of the exploitation of somebody in poverty.”
Reports had it too that Ekweremadu claimed he involved the trader after Dr Obeta told him not to seek a donor from his family.