Former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice, charged with alleged conspiracy to harvest the organs of a child 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 couple, who were arrested following an investigation by the London Metropolitan Police’s Specialist Crime team, were arraigned before Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court.
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, there was 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.
He was said to have stated in the letter that he was writing in support of a visa applicant scheduled for “medical investigations for a kidney donation to his daughter.
Couple arrested en route Turkey– Prosecutors
Prosecutors said the couple were arrested at Heathrow Airport on their way to Istanbul, Turkey, ARISE TV reported.
The prosecutors at the court said the 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.
The 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.
According to the prosecutors, it is believed that the couple were on their way to procure another organ as they were unable to harvest the organ of the boy.
Ekweremadu and his wife had separate legal representations and prayed the court to release them on bail, but the prayer was dismissed by the Magistrate.