Nigerian Senator Ike Ekweremadu, his wife Beatrice, and Doctor Obinna Obeta have been found guilty and convicted of organ trafficking in the United Kingdom. The trio was found culpable of violating the Modern Slavery Act by facilitating the travel of a young man to Britain with the aim of exploitation after a six-week trial at the Old Bailey. As reported, the accused were said to have criminally conspired to bring the 21 years old Lagos base to London just to exploit his kidney as stated by the jury. The judge, Justice Jeremy Johnson, will pass a sentence at a later date, The Guardian UK reports.
Ekweremadu and his wife were last year arrested in the United Kingdom for allegedly trafficking a young man into the country to harvest his kidney, and have been standing trial at the Old Bailey for organ trafficking.
The young man was said to have been falsely presented as Sonia’s cousin in a failed bid to persuade doctors to carry out an £80,000 private procedure at the Royal Free Hospital in London.
The young man was said to have been offered an illegal reward to become a donor for Sonia after kidney disease forced her to drop out of a master’s degree in film at Newcastle University.
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.
Ekweremadu, who denied the charge, told the court he was the victim of a scam. Obeta, who also denied the charge, claimed the man was not offered a reward for his kidney and was acting altruistically. Beatrice denied any knowledge of the alleged conspiracy. Sonia did not give evidence.
Ekweremadu and Obeta admitted falsely claiming the man was Sonia’s cousin in his visa application and in documents presented to the hospital.
Davies said Ekweremadu ignored medical advice to find a donor for his daughter among genuine family members. He said: “At no point in time was there ever any intention for a family member close, medium or distant to do what could be paid from a pool of donors.