Organ harvesting: Ekweremadu, wife ‘illegally paid Lagos street trader’
Former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, his wife Beatrice, daughter Sonia, 25, and an associate, Dr Obinna Obeta, 50, have been alleged to have broken modern slavery laws.
The Old Bailey heard on Monday, Ekweremadu was said to have illegally paid a street trader from Lagos, to travel to the UK, for a donation to help his daughter, who suffers from a kidney disease.
Ekweremadu who has been senator since 2003 is on trial charged with exploiting a 21-year-old to come to London and donate a kidney.
While opening the case, prosecutor Hugh Davies KC said Ekweremadu’s status and influence had produced a significant degree of wealth.
He said Sonia Ekweremadu’s state of health could have been alleviated or cured by a kidney transplant, and the family was “close, open and loving”, with a “direct interest in Sonia’s medical treatment.”
However, Davies declared to the jury that rewarding someone for a kidney donation was criminal.
“There was an obvious risk that those providing organs for transplantation for reward are likely to come from the poorest and most vulnerable sections of society,” he said.
He said Ekweremadu and his associates began a search for a donor among “economically vulnerable people” in Nigeria with the right blood and genome types.
Candidates were invited to the Nigerian capital Abuja for testing, the court heard.
According to BBC, the court learnt he was given medical tests in Nigeria to assess his suitability as a donor before being flown to the UK and he was allegedly offered the equivalent of £2,400 plus the promise that he could live and work in the UK.
Davies further said “Steps were taken to create the wholly false impression that the alleged victim and Sonia Ekweremadu were cousins.
“None of this would have been necessary if this was a straightforward, genuine, altruistic kidney donation. It was not. It was criminal. In the real world, altruistic donors are an exceptionally rare commodity.”
However, the Ekweremadus, Dr Obita have denied plotting to arrange the travel of the young man with a view to exploitation between 1 August 2021 and 5 May 2022.