Legal Nigeria

Detained Ekweremadu, wife risk 10-year jail in UK

Remanded till July 7 over allegations of organ harvest, others

The desperation to save the life of their daughter yesterday landed former Senate Deputy President Ike Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice Nwanneka, in London detention.

They now face charges bordering on organ harvesting, which attracts a 10-year jail term.

The alleged offence involves removing parts of the body against the will of the victim.

Their daughter, Sonia, requires a kidney transplant but an attempt to get a donor went awry.

The couple was arrested at the Heathrow Airport in London on Tuesday in the presence of protocol officials from the Nigerian High Commission in the United Kingdom (UK).

From the airport, the detectives of the Specialist Crime Team of the Metropolitan Police took them away for interrogation.

They were taken to the Uxbridge Magistrate’s Court near the airport yesterday.

The judge denied them bail and fixed July 7 for a ruling on jurisdiction.

A diplomatic source said the offences against the couple attract a 10-year jail term if found guilty.

“The maximum penalty in the UK for these proven offences is imprisonment for 10 years.

“Their assets in the UK can also be confiscated.”

A delegation from the High Commission led by its Head of Consular and Welfare Section was at the court yesterday to watch the brief.

The former Deputy Senate President and his wife have been availed of consular services.

A top source, who confided in The Nation, said: “The couple wanted the best for their daughter. They were not out to harvest organs. They have gone through much trouble over the trauma of their daughter who needed a matching donor for a kidney transplant.

“They got one and flew him to London only to discover that the kidney did not match her own. I think they decided to send him home and security issues arose.

“In the course of an investigation, the Met Police spotted some procedural errors, which violated slavery legislation and child law in the UK.