A former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, has been accused of bringing a Lagos street trader to the United Kingdom in order to harvest one of the man’s organs to help his ailing daughter, Sonia.
During a London trial on Monday, before the Jury, the prosecution alleged that the senator, his wife and their daughter conspired together between August 2021 and May 2022 to bring a man from Nigeria to exploit him into donating his kidney to the 25-year-old daughter, who suffers from a kidney condition.
Bloomberg reported that the “medically qualified middle-man” who helped the family,
Obina Obeta, is also on trial.
While all four deny the charges, the Jury were told that the Lagos man, who cannot be named, was selling telephone parts from a cart in public markets a day before he was brought into the plan.
The alleged agreement was that he would donate a kidney to Sonia in return for as much as £7,000 (N6,355,590), plus the promise of work in the UK, although, the transplant never took place because the concerned London doctors blocked it from going ahead.
According to one of the prosecuting lawyers, High Davies, Ekweremadu and Obeta allegedly sought for people who matched the daughter as a donor and recruited “for reward, from socially and — most specifically — economically disadvantaged people.”
He also described Ekweremandu as influential in Nigerian society, with a “significant degree of wealth”, proving his capacity to pull the stunt off.
The publication revealed that under UK law, it’s a criminal offense to reward someone financially or materially for donating an organ . It’s also criminal to arrange the travel of a person to the UK to exploit them under modern slavery laws.
The prosecution further stated that 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.
Obeta sorted the financial arrangement with the hospital to get an initial consultation through a medical tourism company, the prosecution alleged.
In a series of messages shown to the jury, prosecutors said the alleged victim would not get his passport or visa back until after the procedure was completed.