A popular Nigerian senator has been charged with collaborating to fly a boy to the UK in order to fetch organs.
Ike Ekweremadu who is sixty, and his wife Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu, 55, appeared at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court in west London earlier on Thursday.
The small boy of 15 years alleged victim has been taken into care. The Met Police said agencies were working to support him. The court heard that Mr Ekweremadu, who is both a politician and a barrister, was deputy president of the Senate.
The defendants live in Nigeria but have family in London, magistrates were told. Both are accused of conspiracy to arrange and/or facilitate the travel of another person with a view to exploitation. Ekweremadu and Beatrice were interrogated by the clerk for their address, to which they both replied: “Nigeria”.
The court heard the prosecution needed permission to proceed because of jurisdiction issues. Prosecutor Damla Ayas told the court: “In respect of these offences the (UK) Attorney General’s consent is required and the Crown require 14 days for that to be obtained.”
All the alleged misconducts happened in the UK, magistrates heard. The Ekweremadus, who were arrested two days ago, have been remanded in net to appear at the same court on 7 July.
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Recall that on 17 August 2019, Ike Ekweremadu while attending the Second Annual Cultural Festival and Convention organized by Ndi-Igbo Germany in Nuremberg, Ekweremadu became the victim of a violent attack when members of the Indigenous People of Biafra IPOB stormed the venue of the event and began to question Ekweremadu about the killings of Igbos when the Nigerian army staged Operation Crocodile Smile and Python Dance. They also questioned Ekweremadu about his purported role in the proscription of IPOB in Nigeria.
The situation soon degenerated to the extent that Ekweremadu was physically dragged out of the venue, assaulted and pelted with eggs. He would later announce that he got away from the venue without any injuries. The leader of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu issued a statement on the attack on Ekweremadu calling it a “polite warning” while at the same time warning other Igbo governors of a possible similar treatment. The four suspects were arrested and convicted of physical assault and sentenced to 20 days of hard labor without any option of fine.
He has member of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), he has been a senator since 2003.
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An investigation by the Metropolitan Police’s Specialist Crime Team took place after detectives were alerted to potential modern-day slavery offences.
Organ-harvesting involves removing parts of the body, often for commercial gain and against the will of the victim.
A University of Lincoln spokesman said: “Visiting professors are often, as is in this case, non-resident at the university, unpaid and advisory.
“We are deeply concerned about the nature of these allegations but as this is an active police investigation, we cannot comment further at this stage.”
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