Former Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, his wife Beatrice, and Doctor Obinna Obeta have been sentenced to jail by a judge at The Central Criminal Court, commonly referred to as the Old Bailey.
During the sentencing hearing held on Friday, Ekweremadu was sentenced to a term of nine years and eight months in prison. His wife, Beatrice, received a sentence of four years and six months imprisonment, while Obeta was sentenced to a term of 10 years in prison.
The pronouncement of the sentence is a consequence of their conviction in March for the offence of organ trafficking. Sonia Ekweremadu, the daughter of the Ekweremadus, has been exonerated of any alleged misconduct.
The trio was convicted for their involvement in organising or facilitating the travel of a young Nigerian man into the United Kingdom with the intention of procuring his kidney on behalf of Sonia.
As per the jury’s verdict, Ekweremadu, along with his wife and their doctor, were found to have engaged in a criminal conspiracy to bring a 21-year-old Lagos street trader to London with the intention of exploiting him for his kidney.
This ruling is deemed as the inaugural instance under the Modern Slavery Act 2015 in the United Kingdom.
This will be the first verdict of its kind under the Modern Slavery Act.
Ekweremadu, Beatrice, and Obeta were convicted of conspiring to exploit a young Nigerian man named David Nwamini for his kidney by arranging his travel to the United Kingdom.
Sonia, Ekweremadu’s sick daughter, needed the organ.
Their trial lasted six weeks, and a verdict is expected today at the Old Bailey, London’s Central Criminal Court.
Hugh Davies, the prosecutor, told the jury that Ekweremadu exhibited “entitlement, dishonesty, and hypocrisy”
Beatrice and Ekweremadu both denied the charge.
They denied any familiarity with the purported conspiracy. They also informed the court that they had been duped.
Obeta, on his part, also denied the charge, claiming that the man was acting altruistically and was not offered a reward for his kidney.
In the meantime, the former president of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, had penned a letter to the British authorities pleading for the legislator to temper justice with mercy when delivering the sentence.
In addition, the Igbo sociocultural organisation Ohaneze Ndigbo, the Nigerian Senate, the Nigerian House of Representatives, and the Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) had joined the fray, pleading with the British Authorities for leniency towards the accused lawmaker.