By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA—The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, yesterday, ordered the National Identification Management Commission, NIMC, to immediately submit the bio-data of David Ukpo, who accused the former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice, of sponsoring his trip abroad for the purpose of harvesting his organ, to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN.
The court, in a ruling that was delivered by Justice Inyang Ekwo, said Ukpo’s bio-data should be released to Malami for same to be transmitted to the court in the United Kingdom that is handling the trial of Ekweremadu and his wife.
It will be recalled that the court had on July 1, ordered NIMC to make available to Ekweremadu’s team of lawyers, the Certified True Copy, CTC, of Ukpo’s bio-data.
However, at the resumed proceedings yesterday, NIMC, through its lawyer, Mr Muazu Mohammed, notified the court that it could not comply with the order.
The Commission contended that it was not served with hearing notice before the said order was issued against it.
Though NIMC initially asked for the order to be set-aside, it later amended its motion and requested that it should rather be directed to submit Ukpo’s bio-data to the AGF instead of to Ekweremadu’s lawyers.
The request was not opposed by Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, who represented Ekweremadu and his wife.
Consequently, Justice Ekwo granted the application as prayed.
It will be recalled that the London Metropolitan Police had arrested and charged Ekweremadu and his wife to court for allegedly bringing a child (Ukpo) to the United Kingdom for organ harvesting.
Though the UK police alleged that Ukpo was 15 years old, however, personal details on both his International Passport and Bank Verification Number, BVN, revealed that he is about 21 years old.
Meanwhile, the erstwhile deputy Senate President and his wife, who are still in detention in UK, through their lawyers, approached the court in Nigeria, praying it to order NIMC to supply them with CTC of Ukpo’s biodata.
Other Defendants in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/984/2022, were the Comptroller General of the NIS, Stanbic-IBTC Bank, United Bank of Africa, and Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc.
The Applicants maintained that Ukpo’s National Identification Number, NIN, with No:19438077110, which is in the possession of NIMC, should be produced for the purpose of facilitating the criminal investigation as well as tendering same to establish their innocence with respect to the age of the alleged victim, in the criminal charge pending against them before the Uxbridge Magistrate Court.
They equally sought an order, directing the Immigration boss to supply them with documents and application form of David Nwamini Ukpo, which was presented for the issuance of his International passport with No. BO0569974.
More so, they sought an order of court directing the Stanbic-IBTC Bank to supply the applicants with the CTC of mandate card and account opening package of account No. 0032551834 maintained by its customer, Ukpo, with Bank Verification Number 22509616391 in the custody of the bank, for the purpose of tendering same to establish the innocence of the applicants with respect to his age in the criminal charges filed against the applicants.
The Applicants also sought an order of court directing UBA to supply the applicants with the CTC of mandate card and account opening package of account No. 2195739574 maintained by Ukpo with Bank Verification Number 22509616391 in the custody of the bank, for the purpose of tendering same to establish the innocence of the applicants.
The applicants raised 20 grounds they urged the court to consider before granting their request.
Ekweremadu, through his lawyer, averred that he is a serving Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, representing Enugu West Senatorial District, adding that the 2nd Applicant, his wife, is a chartered accountant and civil servant.
“The applicants have a daughter named Sonia Ekweremadu, who is suffering from kidney failure and the applicants have been managing it for about five years.
“The said daughter of the applicants urgently needed kidney transplant to save her life.
“David Nwamini Ukpo, offered to donate one of his kidneys for the daughter of the applicants if his kidney is compatible with that of Miss Sonia Ekweremadu.
“David Nwamini Ukpo informed the applicants that he is Twenty One (21) years of age having being born in the year 2000.
“The 1st applicant supported the visa application of David Nwamini Ukpo to the United Kingdom with a letter to the British High Commission in Nigeria, explaining the purpose of the visit i.e to enable him undergo medical examination in the United Kingdom so that the donor and Sonia Ekweremadu get the best of medical attention.
“After conducting various medical tests, the Royal Free Hospital in London decided that the said David Nwamini Ukpo was not a suitable donor because his kidney is not compatible with that of Sonia Ekweremadu”, the applicants added.
They told the court that Ukpo was asked to return to Nigeria, but rather than do so, he approached the authorities in the United Kingdom for protection from being returned to Nigeria.
“David Nwamini Ukpo told the United Kingdom police that he is fifteen years of age contrary to the information supplied to the Applicants by the same David Nwamini Ukpo.
“The Applicants verily believe that Ukpo was actually 21 or more having regards to the public records in the custody of the respondents.
“The Applicants were arrested by the Metropolitan Police in the United Kingdom on June 21 for the allegation that they brought a 15-year-old child (a minor) to the UK to harvest his organs.
“The Applicants were charged before the Uxbridge Magistrate Court, United Kingdom on the 23rd of June 2022 for offences of conspiracy to arrange/facilitate travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting.
“The court denied them bail and they are presently in the custody of UK authorities.
“The Applicants require documents from the respondents to assist in the fair criminal investigation and as facts in their defence to establish their innocence of the allegation in the charge and to prove that David Nwamini Ukpo is not a minor and indeed consented to the medical examination in the United Kingdom.
“The said David Nwamini Ukpo is presently in care in the custody of British Authorities and he cannot be accessed by the Applicants.
“The documents being sought to be handed over to the Applicants will support the applicants in their defence and establish their innocence of the charges brought against them”.
Ekweremadu’s elder brother, Bright, who deposed to the affidavit, told the court that Ukpo had informed the detained couple that he was 21 years old and expressed his willingness to help their daughter, Sonia.
Awomolo, SAN, stressed that the Respondents would not release Ukpo’s personal details, unless they were directed to do so by the court.