NIGERIA’S House of Representatives has intervened in the organ harvesting saga involving former deputy senate president Senator Ike Ekweremadu by urging the British authorities to handle the case fairly.
Last week, Senator Ekweremadu and his wife Beatrice were arrested by London’s Metropolitan Police on suspicion of child trafficking and planned organ harvesting. They were charged before Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court with conspiracy to arrange/facilitate travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting.
Both of them were denied bail and have been remanded in custody until July 7 when the case will next be heard. Media reports have suggested that they were trying to get a minor to donate a kidney to their daughter for an operation that was due to take place at the Royal Free Hospital in London.
Wading into the matter, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, the speaker of the House of Representatives, who has been championing a cause he termed legislative diplomacy, said he would contact the speaker of the British House of Commons, Lindsay Hoyle. He added that hopes he will be able to get the UK to follow due process in investigating Senator Ekweremadu’s case.
Hon Gbajabiamila stressed the need for Nigeria to mount pressure on the British government diplomatically. He made this known in his remarks on a motion of urgent public importance moved by a member of the House, Hon Abdulkadir Abdullahi, who sought justice and fairness for all parties in the case.
Senator Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice, had been arrested by the Specialist Crime Team of the Metropolitan Police in London for alleged conspiracy to harvest the organ of a certain David Nwamini, who is currently in protective custody. Early this week, the Nigeria Immigration Service issued a copy of his passport, showing Mr Nwamini to be 21 and debunking the claim that he is a minor.
Hon Gbajabiamila said: “I would try and get in touch with the speaker of the Parliament whom I was opportune to meet with and had fruitful discussions with just a couple of months ago. I believe the chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Buba Yusuf, should also get in touch with his foreign affairs counterpart in the UK Parliament.
“It is important that we apply diplomatic pressure, as Nigeria has very strong diplomatic ties with the UK and all those areas must be explored. I wish the senator and his family well. We cannot imagine what they are going through at this time.”
Moving his motion, Hon Abdullahi said the House cannot have a situation where a simple allegation that has not been thoroughly investigated would result in a high-ranking public officer who has served and is still serving the Nigeria public and the Nigerian state arrested. He added that as a diplomatic passport holder, there are status and privileges that Senator Ekweremadu is supposed to enjoy but from what is happening so far, it appears that they have been thrown to the dustbin.