Organ harvesting trial: I’m victim of scammers -Ekweremadu 

Written by on March 8, 2023

Former deputy senate president, Ike Ekweremadu, on trial at the Old Bailey Court, London for allegedly plotting to harvest a Nigerian hawker’s kidney for his sick daughter, told the court yesterday how he feared he was being scammed after he realised that everybody was taking advantage of his daughter’s ill health.

According to the charge, Ekweremadu, 60, his wife Beatrice, 56, daughter Sonia, 25, and a doctor, Obinna Obeta, 50, allegedly conspired to exploit a 21-year-old Nigerian trader for his body part.

Lawyers for the accused previously told the trial at London’s central criminal court that the alleged victim was acting “altruistically”. The kidney was allegedly intended for Sonia, who remains on dialysis with a renal condition, in return for up to £7,000 ($8,430) and the promise of a new life in Britain for the 21-year-old trader.

Ekweremadu has been held in custody in the UK since his arrest. His wife and daughter are on conditional bail. In Britain, it is legal to donate a kidney, but not for reward. Prosecutors say regardless of whether the accuser gave his consent, a crime was committed by the senator.

The accuser, who cannot be named, is said to have gone to UK police after finally refusing to consent to the procedure, following preliminary tests at a north London hospital in February 2022.

A consultant doctor at the London hospital said the young man had “limited understanding” of why he was there and was “visibly relieved” on being told the transplant would not go ahead, prosecutor Hugh Davies said.

Ekweremadu had, on Monday, told the court the history of his daughter’s illness. He said Sonia was doing a masters degree at Newcastle University, when she started experiencing “swollen limbs” in December 2019.

She was later diagnosed with a “kidney issue”, which caused her “distress”, and withdrew from her studies after she “collapsed” in class. He said his daughter’s deteriorating condition was “scary”, adding: “Medicines she was getting (were) not essentially working, so her situation was getting worse.”

The prosecutor earlier said the accuser had been coached to give false answers to doctors at the British hospital, and Sonia was “singing from the same hymn sheet” to create a fake family history linking the pair as cousins.

The Ekweremadus and the doctor are accused of conspiracy to arrange the travel of another person with a view to exploitation, under UK legislation on modern slavery.

Obeta allegedly managed the process in Nigeria, having himself undergone a kidney transplant in Britain with an organ donated by a “cousin” in 2021, the court was previously told.

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