Protests as Ekweremadu, wife appear in UK court

The human trafficking trial of former Senate Deputy President Ike Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice, resumed in a London court on Tuesday. 

However, both anti- and pro-Ekweremadu protests were held in front of the court before the proceedings began. 

According to AFP, there was a protest before the court proceedings, with some in support of the lawmaker and others opposing him. 

In June 2022, the lawmaker and his wife were arrested at Heathrow Airport in London on suspicion of flying a young man from Nigeria to the UK to harvest his organs. 

The organ was allegedly intended for Ekweremadu's daughter, Sonia, who is currently hospitalized with a kidney-related illness. 

Some Nigerians protested in Abuja in October 2022 against the continued detention of the lawmaker, who has now spent 223 days in the custody of UK authorities. 

Protesters gathered at the court on Tuesday to either support or oppose the embattled lawmaker's continued detention in UK custody. 

"I mean, this case is unbelievable," said one protester, Citizen Gbola, according to AFP. 

"Where else in the world would you have a deputy senate president who is still a serving senator and receives his regular salary?" 

According to the Daily Mail, Sonia was unable to appear in court on Tuesday, but her team requested permission with a psychological report claiming she was not fit to stand trial. 

When she appeared in court on November 7, 2022, she pleaded not guilty to the charge of trafficking a homeless man into the UK in order to harvest his organs for herself. 

The young man who made the allegation against Ekweremadus told Staines Police Station that he was forced to undergo medical tests to which he refused. 

Obinna Obeta, a 50-year-old medical doctor from South London, was also arrested in connection with the allegation. 

During proceedings at the Old Bailey court, Ekweremadu who wore a grey tracksuit top only said "Yes, miss" when asked to confirm his name. 

His wife, who was dressed in black and sat beside him in the dock, was granted bail in July 2022 while her husband was said to be a flight risk.

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