Nigerian senator and wife jailed for tricking man into giving their daughter his kidney

Nigerian senator and wife jailed for tricking man into giving their daughter his kidney

Senator Ike Ekweremadu (right) Sophisy, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A Nigerian senator, his wife, and a doctor were sentenced to prison on Friday 5th May 2023 for their involvement in an organ harvesting plot that targeted a young man who was trafficked to the UK for his kidney.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in Britain stated that this was the first conviction of its kind under the country’s modern slavery laws.

Senator Ike Ekweremadu, a former deputy senate president in Nigeria for 12 years, his wife Beatrice, and Dr. Obinna Obeta were found guilty in March of trafficking a 21-year-old street trader to the UK to provide a kidney for their daughter Sonia, who suffers from deteriorating kidneys and needs regular dialysis.

The victim was promised work in the UK and a reward of up to £7,000 ($8,810 USD), but was unaware that he was expected to provide a kidney in return.

The planned transplant was called off by a medical consultant who became suspicious of the circumstances surrounding it, and the victim fled.

He slept on the streets in the UK for days before reporting the plan to police in May 2022.

Ekweremadu, his wife, and the doctor were sentenced at the UK’s Central Criminal Court, known as the Old Bailey, to nine years and eight months, four years and six months, and 10 years in prison, respectively.

The case of Ekweremadu and his wife drew sympathy in Nigeria, where some saw them as victims of circumstance who were desperate to help their sick daughter.

Nigeria’s former President Olusegun Obasanjo wrote to the UK court appealing for leniency ahead of sentencing.

The President of the Nigerian Senate, Ahmad Lawan, also wrote to the British judiciary on behalf of Ekweremadu, asking them to “temper justice with mercy.”

Femi Gbajabiamila, the Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, described Ekweremadu as “a brilliant lawyer, a distinguished public servant and a dedicated family man.”