A Nigerian street vendor who was accused of being part of an organ-harvesting scheme involving former Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu testified before a judge that he had been led to believe he was coming to the United Kingdom in search of gainful employment.
The young man was allegedly brought to the UK in exchange for a monetary incentive in order to help the ailing daughter of the former Deputy Senate President.
According to the Irish News, the young man testified at the Old Bailey on Monday that he had no idea why he was being transported to see a doctor.
Before a consultation at the Royal Free Hospital, he revealed that he was being “managed” and told to lie about having a family link with the Ekweremadus.
According to the Old Bailey, a doctor at the north London hospital ruled that he was unsuitable as a donor for 25-year-old Sonia Ekweremadu.
Ekweremadu, 60, his wife Beatrice, 56, Sonia, 25, and medical “middleman” Obinna Obeta, 50, are accused of colluding to organize or facilitate the young man’s visit to Britain for exploitation.
The victim also told the court about his upbringing in a Nigerian hamlet as the oldest of nine children to his carpenter father and mother.
According to the court, he attended a country school until the age of 15, when he left because his parents needed money.
According to him, his uncle moved him to live with him in Lagos and hired him to sell phone accessories.
He launched his own business selling phone accessories from a wheelbarrow in the market after four years, making N3,000 or N4,000 each day.
Hugh Davies KC, the prosecutor, inquired as to how he came to fly from Lagos to London.
“Obinna (Obeta) is the individual who brought me here to this nation,” said the witness, who testified via video link with the assistance of an interpreter.
“He asked me what am I doing and I told him I’m doing business selling phone accessory in Lagos and he start talking about coming to London.
“He going to take me to London, stay at his house, and I will work.”
The court heard how he traveled to Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, for tests before being brought to have his passport photographed.
He said before judges that the first time he had ever seen his passport was when he went for a visa interview and that he hadn’t seen it since the day he was scheduled to fly to the UK.
Mr Davies asked, “What did you think you were going to do when you came to London?”
“To work, any type of work that I would get paid,” he replied.