Accused of wanting to have a young man’s kidney removed in order to transplant it to his daughter, Nigerian Senator Ike Ekweremadu is on trial from Tuesday, January 31 in London.
Mr Ekweremadu, a 60-year-old former Deputy Speaker of the Senate, is accused along with his wife, Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu, 56, of taking a 21-year-old man to the UK from Nigeria to have his kidney removed so that be transplanted to their daughter Sonia, 25 years old.
The young man is said to have refused to consent to the procedure after undergoing medical examinations at a hospital in north-west London and fled to report to the police.
The Ekweremadu family had been arrested at Heathrow Airport in London in June 2022. Ike Ekweremadu has since been in custody while his wife and daughter have been released on bail. Another man, Obinna Obeta, a 50-year-old doctor from south London, had also been charged and has since been in custody.
The four suspects are formally charged with “conspiracy” for having organized the travel of a third person with a view to his exploitation, in this case the removal of an organ.
The facts allegedly took place between 1er August 2021 and May 5, 2022. In a pre-trial hearing, Sonia Ekweremadu pleaded not guilty to the charges against her.
The trial, which was originally due to start in May, is being held at the Old Bailey court in the British capital. It should last seven weeks.
Ike Ekweremadu, elected to the Senate for the Nigerian capital Abuja in 2003, tried last year to run as the People’s Democratic Party (PDP, opposition) candidate for governor of Enugu State (southern is) from which he originated. But he pulled out after failing to win party support.
The charges against him have caused a stir in the Nigerian media and on social media, with some expressing sympathy for his family while others have expressed outrage that he may have committed what he is charged with.