Former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice, who have been charged with alleged conspiracy to harvest the organs of a minor in the United Kingdom, face life imprisonment if found guilty and convicted to maximum sentence under the UK’s Modern Slavery Act 2015 (MSA 2015).
The lawyer-turned lawmaker and his wife were arrested following an investigation by the London Metropolitan Police’s Specialist Crime team. They were arraigned before Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court in West London.
The court denied them bail, but ordered that they be remanded till July 7.
The police had said the investigation was launched after detectives were alerted to potential offences under modern slavery legislation in May 2022.
“[A] Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu, 55 (10.9.66) of Nigeria is charged with conspiracy to arrange/facilitate travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting.
“[B] Ike Ekweremadu, 60 (12.05.62) of Nigeria is charged with conspiracy to arrange/facilitate travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting,” the police said in a statement.
The police added that the child had been safeguarded.
Meanwhile, Politicos reported a letter in circulation purporting that Ekweremadu had, in December 2021, written a letter to the British High Commission about a kidney donation for his daughter.
The cover letter was in support of a visa applicant scheduled for “medical investigations for a kidney donation to his daughter,” the letter read.
Prosecutors said the couple were arrested at Heathrow airport, London on their way to Istanbul, Turkey.
The prosecutors at the court said Ekweremadu and his wife were being charged for bringing a 15-year-old boy from Nigeria to the UK with the claim that he was to be given a better life, but they were actually meant to harvest his organ.
The prosecutors told the court that Ekweremadu procured a passport for the boy and claimed he was 21 years old, but discovered that he was 15.
Prosecutors were also said to have told the court that the couple had a daughter with a kidney-related disease and had been on dialysis for quite some time.
They told the court that it was believed that the plan was to use an organ from the boy on their daughter who appeared to need a kidney transplant.