More details have emerged in the arrest and detention of Nigeria’s former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, by the UK Metropolitan Police Service.
The UK police had announced on Thursday that Senator Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice, were arrested and charged in the country for alleged “organs trafficking”.
The UK police had said the lawmaker and his wife were arrested following an investigation by the Metropolitan Police’s Specialist Crime team.
“The investigation was launched after detectives were alerted to potential offences under modern slavery legislation in May 2022. A child has been safeguarded and we are working closely with partners on continued support. As criminal proceedings are now underway we will not be providing further details” read the UK police statement.
But hours after reports of their arrest, details have emerged that the serving Nigerian Senator, officially wrote to the British High Commission, Abuja, on December 28, 2021, 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”.
Sonia, according to DIPLOMATIC DIARY findings, is one of the daughters of Ekweremadu who graduated from a UK university in 2019.
In the letter seen by DIPLOMATIC DIARY, the Senator told the British Embassy that “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.”
The letter reads: “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.”
Meanwhile, Ekweremadu along with his wife, Beatrice were denied bail on Thursday afternoon by the Uxbridge Magistrate court
The couple were arraigned by the Metropolitan police for an attempted organ harvesting and child trafficking.
They are being tried under the United Kingdom’s Modern Slavery Act 2015 (MSA 2015).
DIPLOMATIC DIARY reports that MSA 2015 frowns at human trafficking, under which organ harvesting falls, and is punishable with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment upon conviction.
The act partly reads, “Under s 2, an individual commits an offence if they arrange or facilitate the travel of another with a view to that person being exploited. It is irrelevant whether that person consents to the travel, or whether they are a child or an adult.
“Under s 3 of MSA 2015, exploitation includes: slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour; sexual exploitation (which involves the commission of an offence under s 1(1)(a) of the Protection of Children’s Act 1978 (indecent photographs of children), or Pt 1 of SOA 2003 (eg, rape or sexual assault); removal of organs where a person is encouraged required or expected to do anything which involves the commission of an offence under ss 32 or 33 of the Human Tissue Act 2004 (prohibition of commercial dealings in organs and restrictions on the use of live donors); securing services etc by force, threats or deception; securing services etc from children and vulnerable persons (eg, physically or mentally ill or disabled).”
It further stated that anyone found guilty of “human trafficking is liable on summary conviction to 12 months imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine,” adding that “on conviction on indictment, the maximum sentence is life imprisonment.”
The charged sheet reads: “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,” the statement read.
“Ike Ekweremadu, 60 (12.05.62) of Nigeria is charged with conspiracy to arrange/facilitate travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting. They have both been remanded in custody and will appear at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court later today.
“A child has been safeguarded and we are working closely with partners on continued support.
“The alleged victim is this case is homeless 15 year old boy who was brought to the U.K. by Mr and Mrs Ekweremadu off the streets of Lagos Nigeria”, police said.
The case has been adjourned to July 7th while Ekweremadu and his wife are remanded in prison.