Former Deputy Senate president, Ike Ekweremadu, was, again, remanded in police custody, yesterday, by the Uxbridge Magistrate Court, in the UK, following insistence by the prosecutor that the alleged kidney donor, David Nwamini, was 15 years old.
Ekweremadu had appeared in court, alongside his wife, Beatrice Nwanneka, for alleged organ harvesting, but his wife was absent in court, yesterday.
Last week, the London Metropolitan Police had arrested and charged Ekweremadu and his wife with allegedly bringing a child to the UK for organ harvesting.
The UK police had said the alleged donor, later identified as Ukpo Nwamini David, was 15 years old, but his passport data page showed he was born on October 12, 2000, making him 21 years and eight months old.
During the proceedings, yesterday, Ekweremadu was in the dock, where he confirmed his name and date of birth.
The prosecutor said bail could not be applied to Ekweremadu, because he is a “powerful” man, who is a flight risk, insisting that the “organ donor” in question is a 15-year-old boy.
The case was, again, adjourned to July 7 and transferred to the Westminster Magistrate Court to allow Suella Braverman, UK Attorney- General, to determine whether the case could be tried in Nigeria or UK.
The 60-year-old Ekweremadu, according to report by the BBC, stood in the dock at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court, wearing a grey tracksuit and holding a bible.
The report further added that because part of the alleged offence was committed outside of the United Kingdom, the consent of the attorney general was required for the case to continue.
Ekweremadu faces a charge of conspiracy to arrange or facilitate the travel of another person for exploitation, under the UK’s Modern Slavery Act 2015.
His wife, Beatrice, is charged with arranging or facilitating the travel of another person for exploitation.
Beatrice, 55, according to the report, will appear in court later, due to a delay in her transport from prison.
On Wednesday, Ahmad Lawan, Senate President, had said the Senate would dispatch a delegation to the UK to see Ekweremadu and his wife.
“The High Commission has done so much, but we still expect that it will continue to provide consular service. And we have also mandated our committee on Foreign Affairs to engage with the British Commission here in Nigeria to find more details on this case, as far as the high delegation is involved.
“There will be a delegation to London to see the former deputy Senate president. A delegation from the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs will leave in the next two days to London for that purpose,” Lawan had said.
Enugu govt expresses deep concern over Ekweremadu
Also, yesterday, Enugu State government expressed deep concern over the ordeal of Senator Ike Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice, in the United Kingdom.
A statement by the government described Senator Ekweremadu as an illustrious son of the state and a foremost senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The statement said the government and the good people of Enugu State were saddened by the unpleasant news of arrest, arraignment and subsequent remand in custody of Senator Ekweremadu in the United Kingdom.
It, therefore, conveyed the thoughts and prayers of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and the people of the state to the entire family of Senator Ekweremadu “in this difficult times, as we beseech the most merciful God to grant accelerated healing to Miss Sonia Ekweremadu.”
The governmet also extended its profound gratitude to the Federal Government and the National Assembly for their empathy, support, solidarity and legal intervention.
Federal High Court to hear Ekweremadu’s application July 1
Meanwhile, Senator Ekweremadu and wife’s application for a court order, directing the Nigerian Immigration Service, National Identity Management Commission, an old generation bank and Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc. to forward to them the certified true copy, CTC, of the biodata information of David Nwamini Ukpo, comes up today at Federal High Court, Abuja.
In an originating summon marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/984/2022, dated and filed on June 27 by their counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, before Justice Inyang Ekwo of a Federal High Court, Abuja, the couple said the information was for the purposes of facilitating the criminal investigation and tendering same to establish their innocence, with respect to Ukpo’s age in the charges against them.