After a six-week trial and conviction at the Old Bailey, London’s Central Criminal Court, the Ekweremadus and their doctor might face a harsh reality of a possible 10-year jail terms for violating the Modern Slavery Act.
The judge, Mr Justice Jeremy Johnson, will pass the sentence. Recall that the prosecutor Hugh Davies KC told the court that the Ekweremadus and Obeta had treated the man and other potential donors as “disposable assets – spare parts for reward”.He said they entered an “emotionally cold commercial transaction” with the man. Davies told the jury that the behaviour of Ekweremadu showed “entitlement, dishonesty and hypocrisy”.
He said Ekweremadu, who owns several properties and had a staff of 80, “agreed to reward someone for a kidney for his daughter – somebody in circumstances of poverty and from whom he distanced himself and made no inquiries, and with whom, for his own political protection, he wanted no direct contact”.
Davies added, “What he agreed to do was not simply expedient in the clinical interests of his daughter, Sonia, it was exploitation, it was criminal. It is no defence to say he acted out of love for his daughter. Her clinical needs cannot come at the expense of the exploitation of somebody in poverty.”
Ekweremadu, who denied the charge, told the court he was the victim of a scam. Obeta, who also denied the charge, claimed the man was not offered a reward for his kidney and was acting altruistically. Beatrice denied any knowledge of the alleged conspiracy. Sonia did not give evidence.
In the last few days the Nigerian Senate, the House of Representatives and the Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) had written letters to the British Authorities seeking leniency for the embattled lawmaker. Prior to this, the former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo has also written to the British authorities pleading on behalf of the federal legislator.(leadership.ng)