Twenty – five years old Sonia Chinonso Ekweremadu, daughter of the embattled Nigerian Senator, Ike Ekweremadu, has revealed amid tears that she wouldn’t remain the same again after a United Kingdom Court Jailed her parents over organ trafficking plot.
Miss Ekweremadu who also said that she particularly felt guilty over the fate that befell her parents because of her condition, said she couldn’t tell how they were feeling now with the varying jail terms slammed on the couple.
The Daily Crucible reported earlier that Senator Ike Ekweremadu, his wife and a doctor were sentenced on Friday by a United Kingdom Court after they had found them guilty of organ trafficking in the country weeks earlier.
It is the first sentencing of its kind under the Modern Slavery Act in the UK.
And ahead of the sentencing, former president Olusegun Obasanjo had written the UK Court official asking for clemency on behalf of the Ekweremadus.
A member of House of Representatives from Enugu, home state of Ike Ekweremadu also sought the lswmakers’ intervention to lessen the punishment for former Deputy Senate President. Other prominent Nigerians and kinsmen of the Ekweremadus equally begged for leniency for him without success.
The Senator risked life imprisonment in the extreme or a jail term of between 5 and 10 years depending on whichever one the court elects to levy on him.
However, the UK court in the afternoon (Nigerian time) today rebuffed all the pleas and entreaties from Nigeria and sentenced the former Deputy Senate President of Nigeria to nine years and eight months in prison for organ trafficking plot.
The court also sentenced his wife, Beatrice to four years, six months while the doctor who helped as the couple’s medical ‘middleman,’ Dr Obinna Obeta bagged 10 years. His medical license was equally suspended.
The Daily Crucible further reports that Ike Ekweremadu, 60, his wife, Beatrice, 56, and Dr Obinna Obeta, 51, were found guilty in March this year of facilitating the travel of a young man to Britain with a view to his exploitation after a six-week trial at the Old Bailey.
However, the Ekweremadus’ daughter Sonia, 25, shed tears as she was cleared of the same charge after jurors deliberated on her case for nearly 14 hours.
The former Deputy President of Nigerian Senate and others criminally conspired to bring a 21-year-old Lagos street trader to London to exploit him and harvest his kidney, the jury found.
The man, David Nwamini, had been offered an illegal reward to become a donor for the senator’s daughter after kidney disease forced her to drop out of a master’s degree in film making at Newcastle University, the court heard at the time.
Back in February 2022, the young man was falsely presented to a private renal unit at Royal Free hospital in London as Sonia’s cousin in a failed attempt to persuade medics to carry out an £80,000 transplant. For a fee, a medical secretary at the hospital acted as an Igbo translator between the man and the doctors to help try to convince them he was an altruistic donor, the court heard.
The prosecutor Hugh Davies KC told the court 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.
The behaviour of Ekweremadu, a successful lawyer and founder of an anti-poverty charity who helped draw up Nigeria’s laws against organ trafficking, showed “entitlement, dishonesty and hypocrisy,” Davies told the jury.
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.
However to the sentencing of her parents, Sonia told the BBC after the court judgement on Friday, that she felt guilty about the whole situation.
“I don’t think it will ever be the same again. And obviously, I feel guilty because I feel like all these have happened because of me,” she said, while holding back tears.
On how her parents have handled their current reality, the 25-year-old who admitted that she can’t speak about what they truly feel, said they are “quite calm”.
“They are quite calm, surprisingly. But I can’t really speak about what they are feeling. This is just from an outside perspective of me seeing them. They are okay, they are just neutral,” Sonia said.
On what she has learnt over the whole saga, Sonia said, “Life is just some dynamic. Like you’re one day in your house chilling and the next day your whole life is turned around, upside down.”
Speaking further on the court judgement, she added, “It’s sad. It’s been really hard to wrap my head around it. I understand the conviction. Personally, I disagree with it; however, that’s from a very biased perspective as their daughter, and I would obviously back my parents.
“However, the law has taken its course, and we just have to now move forward as a family.”
Asked about what she would be doing next, Sonia said, “My main focus is to try to help, specifically people with kidney conditions. This is just to show them they don’t need to be scared.
“I will continue to support my parents and siblings as well.”
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