Senator Ike Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice
Former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, his wife, Beatrice, and their doctor, Obinna Obeta have been convicted of organ trafficking under the Modern Slavery Act.
Senator Ekweremadu, his wife and doctor were found guilty of conspiring to exploit a young man, who he facilitated his movement to Britain, for his kidney, in the first case of its kind under the modern slavery laws.
The victim, a street trader from Lagos, was brought to the UK last year to provide a kidney in an £80,000 private transplant at the Royal Free Hospital in London.
The prosecution said the boy was offered up to £7,000 and promised opportunities in the UK for helping, and that he only realised what was going on when he met doctors at the hospital.
UK’s Metropolitan Police had, in June, last year, arrested Senator Ekweremadu and his wife for allegedly conspiring to arrange the travel of a child into the UK in order to harvest his organs.
According to the BBC, the prosecutors alleged that the defendants, Senator Ekweremadu, his wife and doctor had tried to convince medics at the Royal Free by pretending he was the cousin of their daughter, Sonia, who has a debilitating illness, when in fact they were not related.
It maintained that while it is lawful to donate a kidney, it becomes criminal if there is a reward of money or other material advantage.
The BBC reports the prosecutor, Hugh Davies, as saying Senator Ekweremadu and Dr Obeta treated the victim and other potential donors as “disposable assets” and entered what he described as an emotionally cold commercial transaction with the victim.
Mr Davies added that the behaviour of Ekweremadu, showed “entitlement, dishonesty and hypocrisy”.
The former Deputy President of the Nigerian Senate and his wife, however, denied the charge, claiming that they were victims of a scam.
The Sentencing has been slated for 5 May.
Writing by Oluwaaseyi Ajibade; Editing by Tony Okerafor