The Specialist Crime Team of the Metropolitan Police in London has arrested a former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Beatrice.
They were arrested for alleged conspiracy to harvest the organs of a child, who is currently in protective custody.
If convicted, the couple may get a maximum of life sentence or 12 months imprisonment or a fine or both on summary conviction under the United Kingdom’s Modern Slavery Act 2015.
The Act read, “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.”
A statement by the Metropolitan Police said, “A woman and a man were charged today (Thursday) with conspiring to arrange the travel of a child into the UK to harvest organs.
“The charges follow an investigation by the Metropolitan Police’s Specialist Crime team.
“[A] Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu, 55 (10.9.66) of Nigeria is charged with conspiracy to arrange/facilitate travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting
“[B] Ike Ekweremadu, 60 (12.05.62) of Nigeria is charged with conspiracy to arrange/facilitate the travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting.”
The investigation was launched after detectives were alerted to potential offences under modern slavery legislation in May 2022, the force said.
The PUNCH gathered that the senator’s daughter needed an organ transplant.
A source said, “One of his children needs an organ transplant. Probably, the arrangement was not tidy in the face of British laws.”
Our correspondents learnt that Ekweremadu and his wife were arrested on Tuesday at the Heathrow Airport in London en route to Istanbul in Turkey.
They were arraigned before a UK Magistrate court on Thursday.
According to the court proceedings, as reported by Arise TV monitored by one of our correspondents, Ekweremadu and Beatrice appeared at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court.
The station reported, “The alleged victim, in this case, is a homeless 15-year-old boy who was brought to the UK by Mr and Mrs Ekweremadu off the streets of Lagos, Nigeria.
“They are both charged with conspiracy to arrange or facilitate the travel of another person with the aim of exploitation, namely organ harvesting.
“They conspired to bring a child from Nigeria, a 15-year-old boy to harvest his organ; the boy was promised a better life. The prosecutors told the court that the former Deputy Senate President procured a passport for the boy and claimed he was 21 years old but discovered that he was 15 years old.
“The court learnt that Ekweremadu’s daughter had been battling with kidney failure and has been on dialysis for a while and needed a kidney transplant. So, the boy was brought in to give one of his kidneys to the daughter.”
Reports said the doctor billed to perform the transplant suspended it after learning that the boy identified as Ukpo David, was a minor.
AriseTV further reported that the court heard, “The Royal Free (hospital) cancelled the procedure and returned the boy to the custody of the family who treated him badly and he had to run away and slept on the streets for two days.
“It was while sleeping on the streets that the boy went to the police who investigated the matter and arrested the Ekweremadus at the Heathrow Airport on their way to Istanbul, Turkey, to procure another organ because they were unable to harvest the boy’s organ.
“Ekweremadu was arrested with $20,000 in his possession which has been seized.”
The senator and his wife got legal representation and begged the court for bail, stating that their passports had been seized but the judge denied them bail and remanded them in custody till July 7, 2022.
However, a letter written to the British High Commission in Abuja in which the embattled senator sought a visa for Ukpo later surfaced on social media.
The letter dated December 28, 2021, titled, “Re: Medical visa application for Ukpo David,’ read, “I am writing in support of the visa application made by Mr Ukpo Nwamini David who is currently having medical investigations for a kidney donation to Ms Sonia Ekweremadu.
“David and Sonia will be at the Royal Free Hospital London, and I will be providing the necessary funding. I have enclosed a statement of my bank account. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require additional information.”
Meanwhile, the British High Commission told one of our correspondents that it was aware of the case.
The commission’s spokesman, Dean Hurlock, however, refused to confirm if the Mission received Ekweremadu’s letter
Hurlock said, “We are aware that the Metropolitan Police in the UK have charged two people with conspiracy offences linked to allegations of organ harvesting. As this is a live UK police investigation, I am obliged to tell you to contact the Met office if you have any questions related to this.”
But the Met Police declined to comment on the case, stating that the case was in court.
The Senate’s spokesman, Senator Ajibola Basiru, and Ekweremadu’s media aide, Uche Anichukwu, were not available for comment.
Action sacrilegious -MASSOB
The Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra described the arrest of the former deputy senate president for alleged child trafficking and organ harvesting as sacrilegious.
While applauding the development, the pro-Biafra group vowed to commit Ekweremadu and his wife to the ancestors for speedy trial and judgment to serve as a “deterrent to many of their likes who are in the business of organ harvesting,” which it said had increased the wanton killings in the South-East.
MASSOB stated this in a statement signed by its National Director of Information, Edeson Samuel.