Ike Ekweremadu, his wife Beatrice Ekweremadu and a medical “middleman” have been sentenced to prison in the United Kingdom for an organ-trafficking plot.
The politician and his wife Beatrice, stood trial accused of a conspiracy to bring a young man to Britain from Lagos so he could provide an organ for their 25-year-old daughter Sonia Ekweremadu.
Ike Ekweremadu was jailed for nine years and eight months, his wife Beatrice was sentenced to four years and six months in prison, while Dr Obinna Obeta received a 10-year prison term.
The former Deputy Senate President, according to the judge, was the “driving force throughout.”
Sonia Ekweremadu, the daughter of the Nigerian politician- who has a serious kidney condition – wept uncontrollably in court as she was cleared of the same charge his parents were jailed for.
Mr Justice Johnson told the defendants: “In each of your cases the offence you committed is so serious that neither a fine nor a community sentence can be justified.”
On the question of harm to the victim, the judge said: “The transplant did not go ahead but each intended that it should go ahead and you each intended the harm to the donor that would result.
“He would have faced spending the rest of his life with only one kidney and without the requisite funding for the required aftercare.”
He added that the risks had not been properly explained to the victim and there had been no consent “in any meaningful sense”.
Their victim, a poor Lagos street vendor, who has not been named for security reasons, was taken to the UK to provide a kidney for the Ekweremadus’ daughter.
He left in fear for his life and walked into a police station exactly a year ago to report what had transpired when the Royal Free Hospital halted the private £80,000 (about 46 million naira) procedure.
According to the consultant, he had a “limited understanding” of why he was there and was “visibly relieved” at being told the operation would not go ahead.
Report says the victim man was falsely presented as Sonia Ekweremadu’s cousin in a an attempt to persuade medics to carry out the procedure at the Royal Free Hospital.
The case of the Ekweremadus marked the first time defendants have been convicted under the Modern Slavery Act of an organ harvesting conspiracy in the UK.
While donating a kidney is legal, it becomes illegal if money or any material benefit is offered in exchange in the country.