A judge at The Central Criminal Court, also known as the Old Bailey, has sentenced former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, his wife Beatrice, and Doctor Obinna Obeta to jail.
At a sentencing hearing on Friday, Ekweremadu was jailed for nine years and eight months, his wife Beatrice was sentenced to four years and six months imprisonment while Obeta received a 10-year prison term.
The sentencing follows their conviction in March for organ trafficking. The Ekweremadus’ sick daughter, Sonia, was cleared of any wrongdoing.
The three were found guilty after arranging or facilitating a young Nigerian man’s travel into the United Kingdom in a bid to obtain his kidney on behalf of Sonia.
The jury said Ekweremadu, his wife, and their doctor criminally conspired to bring the 21-year-old Lagos street trader to London to exploit him for his kidney.
The conviction is the first under the UK’s Modern Slavery Act 2015.
It would be recalled that Ekweremadu and his wife were last years arrested in the United Kingdom for allegedly trafficking a young man into the country to harvest his kidney.
The young man was said to have been falsely presented as Sonia’s cousin in a failed bid to persuade doctors to carry out an £80,000 private procedure at the Royal Free Hospital in London.
The young man was said to have been offered an illegal reward to become a donor for Sonia after kidney disease forced her to drop out of a master’s degree in film at Newcastle University.
The sentencing, however, comes after pleas from multiple prominent personalities and institutions, including former President Olusegun Obasanjo and t, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Other petitioners included both chambers of the National Assembly; the Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa; and the International Human Rights Commission (IHRC).
The charges were preferred on the Ekweremadus on June 23, 2022, when their arrest was announced. Obeta was later arraigned on July 13, 2022. While his wife was granted bail, the senator was refused.
After months of a pre-trial, the trial commenced on January 31, 2023 and lasted about six weeks, culminating in a guilty verdict against Ekweremadu, Beatrice, and Obeta. (Channels TV, excluding headline)