A court in the United Kingdom has sentenced Ike Ekweremadu, a former Nigerian Deputy Senate President, to almost 10 years in jail for being part of a plan to illegally trade organs. His wife, Beatrice, received a sentence of more than four years, and the doctor who helped arrange the deal, Dr. Obinna Obeta, was given 10 years and lost his medical license.
In March 2023, a jury found that they worked together to bring a young man from Lagos to London to take his kidney, offering him a reward for doing so. The young man was falsely presented as the cousin of a woman who needed a kidney transplant. This is the first time anyone has been found guilty under the Modern Slavery Act for this kind of crime.
During the court hearing, the prosecutor, Hugh Davies KC, stated that Ekweremadus and Obeta had viewed the man and other potential donors as “expendable resources – interchangeable parts in exchange for compensation.”
According to The Guardian UK report, prosecutor Hugh Davies KC stated in court that Ekweremadus and Obeta treated the man and other potential donors as “disposable assets – spare parts for reward.” Davies also mentioned that the men entered into an “emotionally cold commercial transaction” with the man.
Ekweremadu’s behavior displayed “entitlement, dishonesty, and hypocrisy,” the prosecutor told the jury. Davies explained that Ekweremadu agreed to reward someone for a kidney for his daughter, Sonia, without making any inquiries about the individual’s circumstances.
Furthermore, he distanced himself from the person and did not want any direct contact with them for his own political protection. Davies added that what Ekweremadu agreed to do was not just a clinical necessity for his daughter; it was criminal exploitation. It is not a valid defense to say he acted out of love for his daughter because her clinical needs cannot justify the exploitation of someone in poverty.