UK court finds Ekweremadu, wife guilty of organ trafficking

Ike Ekweremadu and wife Beatrice

An Old Bailey Court in the United Kingdom has found former Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu and wife Beatrice guilty of organ trafficking.

The duo alongside a medical doctor, Dr. Obinna Obeta, were found guilty of facilitating the travel of a young man to Britain with a view to his exploitation after a six-week trial.

They criminally conspired to bring the 21-year-old Lagos street trader to London to exploit him for his kidney for Ekweremadu’s sick daughter Sonia, the jury found on Thursday.

According to the Guardian UK, Justice Jeremy Johnson will pass a sentence at a later date.

They were convicted in the first verdict of its kind under the Modern Slavery Act.

The court heard that the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was offered an illegal reward to become a donor for Ekweremadu’s daughter after kidney disease forced her to drop out of a master’s degree in film at Newcastle University.

In February 2022, Ekweremadu was said to have falsely presented the man to a private renal unit at Royal Free hospital in London as Sonia’s cousin in a failed attempt to persuade medics to carry out an £80,000 transplant. For a fee, a medical secretary at the hospital acted as an Igbo translator between the man and the doctors to help try to convince them he was an altruistic donor, the court heard.

The prosecutor Hugh Davies KC told the court that the 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.

Davies said Ekweremadu ignored medical advice to find a donor for his daughter among genuine family members. But Ekweremadu argued that he was instead asked to look outside his family to prevent recurrence of the medical issue due to genetic similarities.

Ekweremadu, wife and Obeta had all pleaded not guilty. Sonia did not give evidence and was not found guilty.