Former Deputy President of the Nigerian Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, his wife, Beatrice and their middleman medical doctor, Obinna Obeta, will receive their sentence today, following their conviction for organ trafficking in March, in the first verdict of its kind under the Modern Slavery Act.
This verdict will be a first of its kind within the UK criminal court system.
Ekweremadu, 60, his wife, Beatrice, 56 and Obeta, 51, were convicted of conspiracy to arrange the travel of a young man, addressed as David Nwamini to Britain in order to exploit him for his kidney, which was needed for the lawmaker’s sick daughter, Sonia.
After a six-week trial and conviction at the Old Bailey, London’s Central Criminal Court, the Ekweremadus and their doctor might face a harsh reality of a possible 10- year jail term for violating the Modern Slavery Act The judge. Mr Justice Jeremy Johnson, will pass the sentence.
While Senator Ekweremadu and his wife denied the charges levelled against them, the Prosecutor, Hugh Davies told the jury that the behaviour of the Ekweremadus showed “entitlement, dishonesty and hypocrisy”.
On his part, Dr Obeta, also denied the charge, claiming that the victim in question was not offered a reward for his kidney and was acting altruistically.
Recall that the prosecutor Hugh Davies KC told the court that Ekweremadus and Obeta had treated the man and other potential donors as “disposable assets – spare parts for reward”. He said they entered an “emotionally cold commercial transaction” with the man.
He said Ekweremadu, who owns several properties and had a staff of 80, “agreed to reward someone for a kidney for his daughter – somebody in circumstances of poverty and from whom he distanced himself and made no inquiries, and with whom, for his own political protection, he wanted no direct contact”.
Davies 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.”
There have been several please for clemency on behalf of the Ekweremadus, with many listing the achievements and contributions of the lawmaker to the growth of Nigeria and beyond, stating that he is a statesman of impeccable character who happens to have made a mistake.