Senator Ike Ekweremadu was sentenced to nine years and eight months and his wife Beatrice sentenced to four years and six months.
A Nigerian senator, his wife, and a medical “middleman” have been sentenced to prison for arranging to smuggle a market trader to the United Kingdom in order to harvest his kidney.
Ike Ekweremadu, 60, and his wife Beatrice, 56, were charged with conspiring to transport the man to Britain from Lagos in order for him to supply an organ for their 25-year-old daughter Sonia Ekweremadu.
The wealthy Nigerian politician, his wife, and the doctor were all sentenced to prison by a London court for smuggling a street vendor into the country in order to unlawfully remove his kidney for transplantation into their daughter, who was in critical condition.
In the UK’s first illegal organ-harvesting conviction, Ike Ekweremadu was given a sentence of nine years and eight months, according to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), while his wife Beatrice, received a term of four years and six months.
Obinna Obeta, a 51-year-old Nigerian doctor who was described as a middleman by the prosecution, was sentenced to ten years in prison. In March, the three were found guilty of plotting to set up a man’s travel so they could take his organs.
Ahmad Lawan, the president of the Nigerian Senate, stated earlier in the week that on behalf of the Senate, he had written to the British judicial authorities requesting clemency for Ekweremadu, an opposition senator and former vice president of the Senate.
He said, “It was the first time our colleague is getting involved in this kind of thing.”
According to the prosecution, the couple lured the man to the UK in February of last year with the promise of employment and the offer of a few thousand pounds in exchange for his organ.
The man, who had made a career in Lagos selling telephone components in a market, reported being trafficked and being targeted for kidney harvesting when he went to the police.
The planned transplant was abandoned after a specialist at the Royal Free Hospital in London expressed doubts about the circumstances surrounding the prospective donor, a man or woman in his or her early twenties who cannot be identified for legal reasons. The family had attempted to pass the donor off as their daughter’s cousin.
Sonia Ekweremadu, the transplant recipient who needed dialysis due to a severe and deteriorating renal ailment, was cleared of all charges.
By Kingsley Sheteh Newuh