Senator, Ike Ekweremmadu & His Wife Beatrice.
By Ejike Ikezuagu – UK
A wealthy Nigerian Senator, Ike Ekweremmadu, Beatrice his wife, and Dr Obinna Obeta last Thursday at the Old Bailey Criminal Crown Court London found guilty of a “horrific” plot to harvest a young man’s kidney to save Sonia, Ekweremmadu’s daughter.
The Nigerian senator, Ike Ekweremmadu, 60, his wife Beatrice, 56, and the middleman, Dr Obinna Obeta, 51 face jail after the jury decided they conspired to smuggle the victim from Lagos to London with a view to exploit his body part, Ogene Ndigbo Newspaper gathered.
The daughter, Sonia, 25 who is under dialysis wept in the court as she was cleared of helping the plot after 14 hours of jury deliberation.
She hugged her father and mother in the dock before the parents were taken by the prison officers at the Old Bailey.
The victim, David Ukpo is a 21-year-old street trader who sells phone accessories from a wheelbarrow in Lagos to make a living. He was promised £7,000, and a better life in the UK, the court heard.
He ran away eventually after being treated as a slave, sleeping rough for three days in the street before walking to the police station in tears, reporting he had been trafficked, the jury was told.
The prosecutor, Hugh Davies KC had told Ekweremmadu “from beginning to end, all he was to you was a body part for sale”.
Chief Crown prosecutor, Joanne Jakymec, after the guilty verdict, said, “this is a horrific plot. They showed utter disregard for the victim’s welfare, health, and wellbeing and used considerable influence to a high degree of control throughout”.
The court heard Sonia fell ill while at the Newcastle University in December 2019. In September 2021, her father asked his medically trained brother, Diwe to help. He turned to his friend, Dr Obinna Obeta, who had received a private kidney transplant from a Nigerian donor at the Royal Free Hospital.
In Lagos, they found a donor who knows Dr Obinna Obeta’s donor. They arranged travel to the UK and secured him a visa.
The £80,000 private transplant was due to take place at the Royal Free Hospital. The family maintained he was Sonia’s cousin and showed to the court a picture of Sonia with the victim at a restaurant in London.
The consultant rejected the victim as unsuitable after learning the victim had no counselling, or advice about risks, or funds for life-long care afterwards. The donor had earlier said to the police that he did not know why he was brought to the UK until he met the consultant. He said, the doctor said, I was too young, but a man said, if you do not do it here, he would carry me back to Nigeria and do it there.
In the UK, it is legal to donate an organ, but it is criminal if there is a reward of money or other material advantage.
The organ plot conviction is under the Modern Slavery Act and carries a maximum of life sentence.
At trial, the defendants said, they thought the donor was “altruistic”. Ekweremmadu had claimed he (Ekweremmadu) was “scammed”.
The three defendants, Senator, Ike Ekweremmadu, his wife Beatrice and Dr Obinna Obeta were remanded into custody by Mr. Justice Johnson to be sentenced on May 5.
Det. Insp Esther Richardson of the Met’s modern slavery command said: “This is a landmark conviction, and we commend the victim for his bravery”.