The United Kingdom’s Central Criminal Court, Old Bailey, on Friday, convicted a former Nigerian Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, to nine years and eight months in prison for organ trafficking.
Also convicted, alongside the Nigerian serving senator, was his wife, Beatrice, who was handed four years and six months prison terms.
BBC reports that the UK court also sentenced Dr Obinna Obeta to 10 years after the judge found he had targeted the potential donor who was young, poor and vulnerable.
On March 23, the jury pronounced a guilty verdict on the senator, his wife, Beatrice, and Obinna Obeta, a doctor who acted as the middleman.
The jury held that the trio conspired to bring the 21-year-old at the centre of the matter to London to exploit the victim for his kidney.
The ruling, according to the report, is said to be the first such case under modern slavery laws.
Their victim, a poor street trader in Lagos, was brought to the UK to provide a kidney for the Ekweremadus’ daughter.
He fled in fear of his life and walked into a police station exactly a year ago to report what had happened after the Royal Free Hospital called a halt on the private £80,000 procedure.
During a televised sentence hearing, Mr Justice Johnson recognised Ike Ekweremadu’s “substantial fall from grace”.
He described the politician as someone of high office with multiple properties, domestic staff, maids, chefs and drivers compared with the victim, who could not afford a £25 ticket to travel to Abuja.
Obeta, he said, had lied to doctors and falsely claimed the young potential donor was a cousin of the senator’s daughter who urgently needed a transplant.
The three had left the potential donor facing a “substantial and long term impact on his daily life”, he said.
“People-trafficking across international borders for the harvesting of human organs is a form of slavery,” the judge added.
In a victim personal statement, the 21-year-old Nigerian market trader, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the court he used to “pray every day” to be given the opportunity to come to the UK to work or study.
Leave a Reply