UK Court Moves Ekweremadu’s Trial To Jan 31

File photo: Former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu

 

The Central Criminal Court in London, the United Kingdom, has moved the trial of former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu over alleged organ harvesting from May 2023 to January 31, 2023.

The Old Bailey agreed that arguments will be heard on the 16th or 19th of December 2022 before the commencement of the trial in January.

Ekweremadu and his wife Beatrice were arrested on June 23 and charged with conspiracy to trafficking a person for organ harvesting in violation of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

Though he was absent from court on Monday, his wife who was released on bail in July and Sonia, the couple’s daughter, were present.

READ ALSO: Hushpuppi Has Not Been Sentenced – US Court

Last week, Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court Abuja ordered the interim forfeiture of Ekweremadu’s assets following an ex-parte motion by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, subsequently described the court’s ruling as “hasty” and a “selective judgement”.

 

Forfeiture Of Ekweremadu’s Assets A Selective Judgement, Ohanaeze Kicks

File photo: Former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu

 

The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, on Saturday, described as “hasty” and a “selective judgement”, an interim forfeiture of 40 landed assets belonging to a former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.

Ohanaeze said Ekweremadu, who is being prosecuted for alleged organ harvesting in the United Kingdom, should be given the opportunity to defend himself.

Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court Abuja had ordered the interim forfeiture of Ekweremadu’s assets following an ex-parte motion by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

However, Ohanaeze said though there are several allegations of corruption cases pending in the EFCC, the urgency and selective judgement in the case of Ekweremadu is curious.

Read Ohanaeze’s full statement:

ASSET FORFEITURE: EFCC, COURT ORDER HASTY – OHANAEZE

The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide condemns the hasty order by Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court to the effect that Sen. Prof. Ike Ekweremadu should forfeit 40 landed properties allegedly belonging to him.

Ohanaeze Ndigbo stands on a moral probity to state that a hasty exparte motion filed by the EFCC on a man who is undergoing some travails in the United Kingdom falls short of ethical standards and natural justice.

We maintain that Sen. Ike Ekweremadu should be given the opportunity to defend himself on his properties; and if found wanting should surely face the consequences.

We are aware that there are several allegations of corruption cases pending in the EFCC, but the urgency and selective judgement in the case of Ekweremadu is not only curious but indeed true to type.

Ohanaeze Ndigbo calls on all the Nigerian legal luminaries of goodwill to intervene against gradual steps towards totalitarianism.

Dr. Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia, National Publicity Secretary, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide.

Alleged Organ Harvesting: Court Sets Dec 5 To Rule On Victim’s Biodata Release

A file photo of a court gavel.
A file photo of a court gavel.

 

The Federal High Court in Abuja has fixed December 5 to deliver a ruling in an application filed by an alleged organ harvest victim, David Ukpo, seeking to stop the release of his biodata to a court in London, United Kingdom.

Justice Inyang Ekwo fixed the date on Tuesday after taking arguments from counsels to Ukpo and a former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu.

He, however, said both parties in the suit may be recalled for an early date should the ruling be ready before the December 5 date.

Ukpo had through his counsel, Bamidele Igbinedion, prayed the court to set aside the July 1 order of the court which permitted the release of his personal information and biodata to the Uxbridge Magistrate Court and the Central Criminal Court of the United Kingdom, without giving him fair hearing by the court.

He said the entire proceedings that led to the order of the court were made in his absence, adding that the documents released to the London court were false.

The applicant stated that the order made by the court was prejudicial to him, even as he said the Attorney-General of the Federation had no power under the law to transmit personal and private data of a person to a foreign land.

In his objection, counsel to Senator Ekweremadu asked the court to dismiss Ukpo’s suit seeking to stop the release of his biodata to the London court.

He informed the court that Ukpo had no basis to entertain any fear in the release of the information he provided for his visa application and his bank account opening package, except if he had lied about his real age.

Senator Ekweremadu was detained alongside his wife over allegations of a plot to traffic a man into the UK to harvest a kidney for their daughter.

The couple who have since denied any wrongdoing were taken to detention after they were arrested at Heathrow Airport on June 21 after arriving on a flight from Turkey.

Following their arrest by the London Metropolitan Police, the duo appeared before a UK court which ordered that they should be remanded in custody.

While the Met police said the donor was 15, he was reported to have refused to consent to the procedure after undergoing tests at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, north-west London.

But the Westminster Magistrates’ Court later ruled that the kidney donor was not a minor after confirming his age as 21, while Mrs Ekweremadu was released on bail.

Ekweremadu Asks Court To Dismiss Ukpo’s Suit On Bio-data 

A photo combination of former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu.
A photo combination of former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu.

 

 

The former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, is asking the Federal High Court Abuja to dismiss the suit by David Ukpo seeking to stop the release of his bio-data to London Court in the alleged organ harvesting case.

In a counter affidavit, Ekweremadu said Ukpo has no basis to entertain any fear in the release of his visa application information and his bank account opening package except if he had lied on his real age.

In the counter affidavit, Ekweremadu denied the allegations that he demanded Ukpo’s bio-data.

Rather, the deponent averred that what the Federal High Court ordered to be released to London Court was Ukpo’s bank account opening package and the information supplied in his visa application request.

Ekweremadu revealed that based on July 1, 2022 order of the court, the required documents have since been transmitted to two different courts in the United Kingdom.

The senator averred that it is too late for Ukpo to seek reversal of a valid order that had been executed to determine his real age only.

He, therefore, prayed the court to dismiss the suit for being frivolous, abuse of court and lacking in merit having been overtaken by event.

At Tuesday’s proceedings, Ukpo’s lawyer, Ojonugwa Oguche, prayed the court to adjourn the matter for him to react to the counter affidavit.

The request was granted and the matter fixed for September 20 for hearing by Justice Inyang Edem Ekwo.

Alleged Organ Harvesting: Ekweremadu To Remain In Custody As Court Adjourns Trial Till Oct 31

 

The Central Criminal Court in the United Kingdom has adjourned the alleged organ harvesting case involving Senator Ike Ekweremadu and his wife.

Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice are facing charges bordering on conspiracy to arrange/facilitate the travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting.

However, a third individual Obinna Obeta, who is a practising medical doctor in London, appeared alongside the duo.

Channels Television’s correspondent, Juliana Olayinka, reports from the Central Criminal Court in Central London that the main trial will hold in 2023.

READ ALSO: Alleged Organ Harvesting: Ekweremadu, Two Others To Appear In Court Today

Pending that, a pre-trial is scheduled for October 31 in which the ex-Deputy Senate President, his wife, and Obeta would appear in court.

A photo combination of former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu.
A photo combination of former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu.

 

“Just a few moments ago, the brief hearing took place involving the former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, his wife Beatrice, and a third individual named Obinna Obeta,” she said.

“Surprisingly, we didn’t actually see the Senator appear in flesh as well as that third individual, the doctor [they appeared via video link]. We did see Beatrice Ekweremadu in the dock. It was a very brief hearing that was over within a matter of minutes.

“What we do know is that the trial has now been set for 2023. What the judge did say is that the pre-trial will begin the week of October 31.”

Noting that the lawmaker would appear via a video link on October 31, Olayinka said there are indications that more individuals would be arrested in connection with organ harvesting.

No application for bail (for the Senator) was put to the judge and there were no signs of the lawmaker’s adult children during the trial. Beatrice Ekweremadu, however, remains on bail, which she was granted on July 22, under strict conditions.

Ekweremadu, who represents Enugu West Senatorial District in the National Assembly, was arrested at the Heathrow Airport from Turkey in June.

He was in possession of a diplomatic passport with questions bordering on whether the case contravened the Vienna Convention and Diplomatic Immunity.

Efforts to get information from the Nigerian High Commission UK proved abortive, but it is expected that the lawmaker should be given immunity to face charges in his country.

The case began on May 5 when the alleged trafficked victim handed himself to the police authorities on the grounds that he was being coerced into giving his organs despite being under-aged.

However, the case came to the public knowledge on June 23 after Ekweremadu and his wife were arrested by the Metropolitan Police on arrival into the UK from Turkey.

Prosecutors had said that the couple has a daughter with a kidney-related disease and has been on dialysis for quite some time. The British authorities believe the plan was to use an organ from the boy on their daughter who needs a kidney transplant.

Though the alleged victim of trafficking, David Nwamini, claimed he was 15 and was coerced by the Ekweremadus into donating his kidney, the Nigerian government provided records to prove that Nwamini was 21 years old, and not a minor.

Temporary respite came for the Ekweremadus as the Westminster Magistrates’ Court ruled that the alleged trafficked victim is not a minor. Despite the ruling, the lawmaker still faces charges of conspiring to traffick a person for organ harvesting in violation of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

Alleged Organ Harvesting: Ekweremadu, Two Others To Appear In Court Today

A photo combination of former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu.
A photo combination of former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu.

 

Former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, will appear before the Central Criminal Court, the United Kingdom in continuation of his organ harvesting trial.

Also to appear before the court on Thursday is the lawmaker’s wife, Beatrice and 51-year-old Obinna Obeta, said to have been arrested weeks ago on charges related to slavery and exploitation.

Channels Television’s correspondent, Juliana Olayinka, reports from the Central Criminal Court in Central London, saying the case has captured the attention of the world’s media because of its complexity.

READ ALSO: Alleged Organ Harvesting: UK Court Grants Bail To Ekweremadu’s Wife

“We are expecting three individuals to appear in front of the judge today. That is the former Deputy Senate President; his wife, Beatrice and the third individual who was arrested by the Metropolitan Police a couple of weeks ago for charges related to Modern Slavery and Exploitation,” she said.

“This is a 51-year-old named Obinna Obeta. According to some reports, today is going to be a very short appearance.”

The judge and prosecutor are expected to lay out the offences, which will create room for the main trial, she said.

Ekweremadu In Prison Till Next Year?

Giving more updates, the correspondent said the Senator may be remanded in custody till 2023.

Ekweremadu, who represents Enugu West Senatorial District in the National Assembly, was arrested at the Heathrow Airport from Turkey in June.

He was in possession of a diplomatic passport with questions bordering on whether the case contravened the Vienna Convention and Diplomatic Immunity.

Efforts to get information from the Nigerian High Commission UK proved abortive, but it is expected that the lawmaker should be given immunity to face charges in his country.

The case began on May 5 when the alleged trafficked victim handed himself to the police authorities on the grounds that he was being coerced into giving his organs despite being under-aged.

However, the case came to the public knowledge on June 23 after Ekweremadu and his wife were arrested by the Metropolitan Police on arrival into the UK from Turkey.

She added, “Why I said this case is complex is because, over the past couple of weeks, it is twisting. What we found out on July 7 when they appeared at the Westminster Magistrates’ Court is that this alleged victim isn’t actually underaged.

“He is indeed a 21-year-old but that doesn’t mean some of the charges that face the Senator are not incredibly serious. He is believed to be in violation of the Modern Slavery Act of Britain (2015).

“This individual is said to have exploited the arrangements of how he got to the United Kingdom. So, the case continues.”

The lawmaker and his wife, Beatrice Ekweremadu, were arrested on June 23 by the British authorities and charged with conspiracy to traffic a child to the United Kingdom in order to harvest organs.

Prosecutors had said that the couple has a daughter with a kidney-related disease and has been on dialysis for quite some time. The British authorities believe the plan was to use an organ from the boy on their daughter who needs a kidney transplant.

Though the alleged victim of trafficking, David Nwamini, claimed he was 15 and was coerced by the Ekweremadus into donating his kidney, the Nigerian government provided records to prove that Nwamini was 21 years old, and not a minor.

Temporary respite came for the Ekweremadus as the Westminster Magistrates’ Court ruled that the alleged trafficked victim is not a minor. Despite the ruling, the lawmaker still faces charges of conspiring to traffick a person for organ harvesting in violation of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

Ekweremadu: Kidney Donor Not Underage, Says UK Court

 

The Westminster Magistrates Court, the United Kingdom on Thursday accepted that the kidney donor in the case of former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice is not a minor.

Ekweremadu and his wife were arrested by the British police on June 23 on allegations of human trafficking and organ harvesting that violate the country’s Modern Slavery Act.

READ ALSO: Alleged Organ Harvesting: Ekweremadu, Wife Plead Not Guilty To Charges

The police authorities had accused the lawmaker of conspiring to bring a child to the United Kingdom for organ harvesting, saying the victim was a 15-year-old boy.

A photo combination of former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu.

 

During the continuation of the case, the prosecution accepted that he is 21 years old, contrary to earlier claims that he is 15 years old.

Earlier in the day, Channels Television reported the arrival of Ekweremadu and his at West Minister Magistrates Court for the continuation of their trial.

Giving an update from the court’s premises on Thursday, Channels Television’s correspondent, Juliana Olayinka, said the court accepted that the kidney donor in Ekweremadu’s case is not a minor.

She said the prosecution has accepted that he is 21years old.

The court thereafter fixed August 4 as the date for the next hearing.

Just yesterday, the Federal High Court Abuja ordered the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to transmit the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the biodata information of an alleged Minor to the Attorney General of the Federation for onward transmission to the UK to aid Ekweremadu’s trial.

The lawmaker’s lawyer, Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, on July 27 urged Justice Inyang Ekwo to order the release of certain official documents of Ukpo domiciled with NIMC, Nigerian Immigration Service, and Stanbic-IBTC Bank for the purpose of effectively defending Ekweremadu in the UK.

Alleged Organ Harvesting: Ekweremadu, Wife Plead Not Guilty To Charges

 

Former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice, have pleaded not guilty to the charges of human trafficking and organ harvesting in the United Kingdom.

Channels Television had reported their arrival at Westminster Magistrates Court for the continuation of their trial.

Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice were arrested by the British police on June 23 on allegations of human trafficking and organ harvesting that violate the country’s Modern Slavery Act.

A photo combination of former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu.
A photo combination of former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu.

 

The police authorities had accused the lawmaker of conspiring to bring a child to the United Kingdom for organ harvesting, saying the victim was a 15-year-old boy.

READ ALSO: Alleged Organ Harvesting: Ike Ekweremadu Back In Court

Giving an update from the court’s premises on Thursday, Channels Television’s correspondent, Juliana Olayinka, said the court accepted that the kidney donor in Ekweremadu’s case is not a minor.

She said the prosecution has accepted that he is 21years old.

The court thereafter fixed August 4 as the date for the next hearing.

Just yesterday, the Federal High Court Abuja ordered the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to transmit the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the biodata information of an alleged Minor to the Attorney General of the Federation for onward transmission to the UK to aid Ekweremadu’s trial.

The lawmaker’s lawyer, Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, had on July 27 urged Justice Inyang Ekwo to order the release of certain official documents of Ukpo domiciled with NIMC, Nigerian Immigration Service, and Stanbic-IBTC Bank for the purpose of effectively defending Ekweremadu in the UK.

The prayers were granted by Justice Inyang Ekwo.

Alleged Organ Harvesting: Ike Ekweremadu Back In Court

 

Former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu is back in the West Minister Magistrates Court, the United Kingdom for the continuation of his trial.

Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice were arrested by the British police on June 23 on allegations of human trafficking and organ harvesting that violate the country’s Modern Slavery Act.

The police authorities had accused the lawmaker of conspiring to bring a child to the United Kingdom for organ harvesting, saying the victim is a 15-year-old boy.

READ ALSO: UK Police Arrest Ike Ekweremadu, Wife For Organ Harvesting

Giving an update from the court’s premises on Thursday, Channels Television’s correspondent, Juliana Olayinka, said there was a show of support from the Nigerian High Commission in the UK.

A photo combination of former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu.
A photo combination of former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu.

 

She said the lawmaker could either head to Nigeria to defend himself in court or still be remanded in UK police custody.

She explained that the lawmaker representing Enugu West Senatorial District has a sick child who had been suffering from kidney disease and needed a transplant.

“What we believe to be accurate is that the 15-year-old individual was taken off the street of Lagos by a criminal guy for the purpose of organ harvesting,” she said.

“I believe the Senator and his wife have a very ill child they wanted to use this individual’s organs to try and keep her alive, which if done properly, is legal. You are able to donate your organ but age and consent were key issues.

“There were consultations at the Royal Free Hospital in East London. The consultant said something is not right. They didn’t believe that this individual was the age on his document. They didn’t believe that he did consent to donate his organ.”

Just yesterday, the Federal High Court Abuja ordered the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to transmit the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the biodata information of an alleged Minor to the Attorney General of the Federation for onward transmission to the UK to aid Ekweremadu’s trial.

The lawmaker’s lawyer, Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, on July 27 urged Justice Inyang Ekwo to order the release of certain official documents of Ukpo domiciled with NIMC, Nigerian Immigration Service and Stanbic-IBTC Bank for the purpose of effectively defending Ekweremadu in the UK.

The prayers were granted by Justice Inyang Ekwo.

Ekweremadu Appears Before UK Court Over Organ Harvesting Charges

 

The former Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu on Thursday appeared before Uxbridge Magistrate’s Court in London, facing charges under Britain’s Modern Slavery Act.

Ekweremadu’s case, a source told Channels Television, was fast-tracked. He was in good shape, wore a grey tracksuit, and spoke twice during his appearance to confirm his name and date of birth.

His wife Beatrice, who in her defence, asked the court to allow her to appear by his side because she has not seen him since the hearing last Thursday, was not granted such a request.

The prosecutor claims that David Ukpo, who alleged that he was coerced to donate his kidney to the Senator’s daughter, is 15 years. According to court, David was allegedly picked up off the street in Lagos by a criminal gang some months ago with the intention of organ harvesting.

Ekweremadu was remanded in custody as the court argued that he is an influential person, a flight risk and the case involves a child and modern slavery.

The case has been adjourned to July 7 at Westminster Magistrate Court to enable the UK Attorney General, Suella Braverman, to determine whether the case will be tried in the country or Nigeria.

A large delegation from the Nigeria High Commission was also present in the public gallery alongside the Senator’s two adult children.

On Wednesday, the Senate had said it was sending a delegation to visit Ekweremadu and his wife.

Senate President Ahmad Lawan said this after a closed-door session of the lawmakers in Abuja. He explained that members of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs will be traveling to the UK soon.

READ ALSOAgain, Lawyer Malcolm Omirhobo Appears In Lagos Court

“There will be a delegation to London to see Senator Ike Ekweremadu and his wife. A delegation from the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Senate will leave in the next two days for London for that purpose,” Lawan said.

“I want to urge all federal government institutions that can do anything to ensure that justice prevails in this case, that they do so.”

He also said the Nigerian High Commission has engaged the services of lawyers in the UK to defend Senator Ekweremadu.

“I had a personal engagement with our Nigerian High Commissioner to Britain, Alhaji Isola Sarafa, who has done so well to establish contact with our colleague, who has been able to get his team to be in the court at Uxbridge where Ekweremadu was taken to,” Lawan added

“The high Commission has also been able to provide some consular services that include the engagement of some lawyers who will defend our colleague.

“We commend them for giving attention to the issue at stake. Equally, the Nigeria Foreign Affairs Minister has been engaged here, so that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs takes steps to provide diplomatic support for our colleague.

“Because this issue is already in court, we have limited opportunity to discuss beyond what we have done so far.

“But I want to ensure the family of our colleague, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, and Nigerians, that the Senate will continue to engage with our ministry of foreign affairs as well as our high commission in London. The High Commission has done so much but we still expect that it will continue to provide any other further consular services.”

Alleged Organ Trafficking: Senators Are ‘Standing With Ekweremadu’ – Smart Adeyemi

 

A federal lawmaker Senator Smart Adeyemi has said Senators will not abandon Senator Ike Ekweremadu and some of them are making efforts to reach out to him.

He was reacting to allegations of organ harvesting levelled against former Deputy Senate President Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice Ekweremadu.

The London Metropolitan Police on Thursday arrested and charged Senator Ekweremadu and his wife for conspiring to bring a child to the UK for organ harvesting.

READ ALSO: Trial Of Ekweremadu, Wife Adjourned Till July 7

Speaking in an interview with Channels Television, Senator Adeyemi said there is still a lot of unknown aspects of the case hence the need to proceed with caution and not be quick to condemn Senator Ekweremadu.

Senator Smart Adeyemi spoke to Channels Television on June 24, 2022.
Senator Smart Adeyemi spoke to Channels Television on June 24, 2022.

 

He further said until the issue of consent is firmly established, it will be difficult to give a well informed opinion on the matter.

“This issue is most unfortunate,” Adeyemi told Channels Television. “it’s something that is very disturbing to everybody in the Senate because he is one of us; but more importantly is the fact that I know him to be a man of great value and strength of character; a man with very high moral foundation.

“But having said this, I think it is too early to start apportioning blame as to whether he is guilty or not. All of us who are colleagues, we are feeling the pains and we are standing with Ike Ekweremadu on this. We will not abandon him to this.

“Effort is being made by quite a number of Senators to see what we can do by way of giving moral support and any other support that is required.

“But we want to get get the full details of the case. The issues are that the victim was not of age, that he was below 18 years old, so he could not be seen to have had the right of determining as to whether he could offer his organs for someone else.”

Organ Harvesting: Six Questions Regarding Ekweremadu And Transplant In UK

 

The nation was shocked when on Thursday news broke that police in the United Kingdom arrested Senator Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu, for conspiring to bring a child to the UK for organ harvesting.

The story also commanded great attention within the UK and beyond.

London Metropolitan Police charged the Ekweremadus with conspiracy to arrange/facilitate travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting, a charge that adds another dimension to the stigma of trafficking which has trailed Nigerians for years.

Probing deeper into the emerging story, a source familiar with the matter, who spoke to Channels Television on condition of anonymity, said Ekweremadu’s child has been suffering from a kidney disease and needed a transplant.

The source said a donor was gotten and sent to the UK for investigation with the aim of providing a kidney. However, the source said the kidney did not match that of Ekweremadu’s child.

Subsequently the donor was scheduled to return to Nigeria but the individual refused to return and instead reported to the UK police to seek asylum, a situation which then warranted the arrest of the lawmaker and his wife.

Arraigned before a Magistrates’ Court in Uxbridge, the Ekweremadu’s pleaded not guilty to the charges which Magistrate Lois Sheard termed ‘serious allegations’ before adjourning the case until July 7.

The couple were remanded in custody ahead of their hearing next month, while the ‘child’ at the centre of the storm has been safeguarded even as police continue working closely with partner agencies to get to the root of this matter.

While investigations are ongoing, here are six burning questions on the minds and lips of many all over Nigeria and across the world.

A photo combination of former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu.
A photo combination of former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu.

 

1. Who is the donor and who are his/her parents?

Perhaps the most important key to this drama is the said child who is supposed to be the organ donor, and many have wondered who really he or she is.

While the police would do everything to protect the child (a minor) especially as inquiries are intensified, one begins to wonder who and where are the parents, guardians or relatives of the individual, would they surface soon and speak up in the matter or would the fear of a backlash keep them in the shadows.

2. Is organ donation/transplant a crime in the UK?

The straight answer to this is No! However, the process of organ donation and transplanting have legislations that guide them and these legislations slightly vary in England, Scotland, Wales and the Northern Ireland.

Most of the inherent issues regarding organ transplant and donations have been handled by the National Health Service (NHS).

And while the issues surrounding organ and tissue donation are varied and complex, there are a few terms that one must understand and they give clarity to how the process works.

It is imperative to note that at the centre of all the debates regarding donation and transplant is the central theme of “Consent”.

The first terms one needs grasp in this argument is the “opt-in” and “opt-out” options which refer to the different legal systems which govern how people consent to donating their organs and tissue after death.

Within the “Opt-In system people can choose to make organ and tissue donations after they have died, a person could do this by signing up to
the organ donor register or by telling a family member what they would want to happen after their demise.

However, in the case whereby a person has not made their decision on donation clear during their lifetime, a close family member would
normally be approached by a specially trained professional to make a choice about donation.

In the “Opt-Out” system which sometimes is called a system of “presumed consent” or “deemed consent”, people are presumed to have given their consent to organ and tissue donation after death, unless they have actively recorded their decision to opt-out on a formal register.

In practicality, all adults in England are now considered to be organ donors when they die, unless they have recorded a decision not to donate or are in one of the excluded groups.

The excluded groups include (People under 18, people who have lived in England for less than 12 months or who are not living there voluntarily, and people who lack the mental capacity to understand the new arrangements and take the necessary action).

3. Did the Ekweremadus obtain consent and from who?

Bearing the above in mind, the next question becomes, did the Ekweremadu’s obtain consent from the donor? Was the donor eligible to donate or does the individual belong to the excluded group?

Whose consent did the Ekweremadu’s get before proceeding with the plan for an organ transplant with an individual who does not reside originally in the United Kingdom.

Perhaps these are questions that can only be answered if relatives of the individual involved come out to speak on the matter.

4. How was the consent obtained and what authorities were informed?

If consent was indeed obtained as claimed in some quarters, then how were they gotten and what is the proof that indeed the individual voluntarily gave themselves up to donate their organs.

It must also be noted here, that one of the principles guiding this process is that there must not be any form of monetization, in essence, a person is not to be induced by financial gains before they agree to donate an organ.

Paid organ donation is a crime and as such a person who alive is more likely to be allowed to donate an organ if they are related to the sick individual directly, tied by blood, or if they can prove beyond reasonable doubt that the reason they are donating is not financially motivated.

It also does not end at obtaining the consent of the individual, one would need to alert the appropriate authorities regarding such a procedure and when it involves countries, then it becomes very imperative that the appropriate agencies in both governments are kept abreast regarding the donation and transplant as to ensure that no laws are infringed.

5. If the donor was underaged how did he/she obtain a falsified international passport?

In a nation like Nigeria, one would think the answer was quite simple, especially because of the calibre of the individual involved.

But, this question really raises a lot of doubt and calls for an investigation that could see heads roll even within the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS).

If established that the donor in the Ekweremadu’s case is indeed a minor, and his/her passport was falsified, then it really calls to question all that the NIS boasts of and the trust vested in the service, especially in this time when there are links between international passports and the National Identification Number (NIN).

6. What legislation does Nigeria have regarding organ donation?

While one is tempted to out-rightly say that Nigeria has no legislation regarding organ donation and transplant, it is safer to say that the nation has a National Health Act, 2014 which contains many loopholes and does not cover the full scope of the practice in our world today.

The nation currently lacks a national registry for organ donation or transplantation, and that is also another issue that needs to be fixed.

Below are excerpts from the Health Act of 2014. Looking at them, one wonders if having studied the clause, Senator Ekweremadu believed he was well within his right to move on with the process, not giving it a second thought and weighing the laws of Nigeria against what is obtainable within the United Kingdom.


 

There are more people waiting for organ and tissue transplants across the world than there are donations and while many may try to facilitate the process, still there are rules that must be obeyed.

The donation of organs and tissue after death helps to save thousands of lives every year, but these donations must be done through proper channels.

Ekweremadu’s situation is a very dicey one and before the case is resolved, then most of the issues raised above have to be properly understood and the questions have to be answered even as we wait for the verdict on this international matter that again calls us to question some of our practices and laws in a bid to ensure they are up to the best of standards.