Former Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu’s travails are yet to be over as the politician was accused of bringing a Lagos street trader to the UK in order to harvest one of the man’s organs to help his sick daughter.
The Lagos trader whose name was given as David Nwamini, was selling telephone parts from a cart in public markets for a few British pounds a day before he was brought into the plan, the jury was told yesterday.
The alleged agreement was that he would donate a kidney to Sonia in return for as much as £7,000 ($8,439), plus the promise of work in the UK. The transplant never took place after London doctors blocked it from going ahead.
The Nigerian lawmaker, his wife Beatrice and their daughter, Sonia, conspired together between August 2021 and May 2022 to bring Nwamini from Nigeria to exploit him into donating his kidney to the 25-year-old daughter, who suffers from a kidney condition, prosecutors alleged at the start of a London trial.
Obina Obeta, described by prosecutors as a “medically qualified middle-man” who helped the family, is also on trial. All four deny the charges.
Ekweremadu and Obeta looked for people who matched the daughter as a donor and recruited “for reward, from socially and – most specifically – economically disadvantaged people,” Hugh Davies, the prosecution’s lawyer, said. Ekweremadu is described as influential in Nigerian society, with a “significant degree of wealth.”
Under UK law, it’s a criminal offence to reward someone financially or materially for donating a kidney. It’s also criminal to arrange the travel of a person to the UK to exploit them under modern slavery laws.
The prosecution said the group took “elaborate steps” to create a “wholly false impression” that the man and Sonia were cousins to get a UK visa for him. He was also allegedly coached into false answers to tell doctors at London’s Royal Free Hospital.