The Thursday morning announcement that former Deputy Senate President (DSP), Ike Ekweremadu, was arrested alongside the wife for alleged organ harvesting is obviously the most devastating news of his life so far.
This is a man who rose as a struggling lawyer before the return of Nigeria’s democracy in 1999 to emerge as the Local Government Area chairman for Aninri, Chief of Staff to Enugu State ex-Governor Chimaroke Nnamani and arrived the Senate in 2003. He was Deputy Senate President for three consecutive terms of 12 years.
As is expected, his telephone lines and that of his Media Aide, Uche Aniukwu, were effectively switched off.
The London Metropolitan Police had announced the arrest of a Nigerian couple – Ike Ekweremadu and wife Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu, the exact match for the names of the former DSP and his wife.
Ekweremadu has been in the UK for at least the past fortnight having met with members of the Nigerian community in Britain in Lincoln (pictured right)
According to the statement by the Metropolitan Police: “A woman and a man were charged today with conspiring to arrange the travel of a child into the UK in order to harvest organs.
“The charges follow an investigation by the Metropolitan Police’s Specialist Crime team.
“[A] Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu, 55 (10.9.66) of Nigeria is charged with conspiracy to arrange/facilitate travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting.
“[B] Ike Ekweremadu, 60 (12.05.62) of Nigeria is charged with conspiracy to arrange/facilitate travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting.
“They have both been remanded in custody and will appear at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court later today.
“The investigation was launched after detectives were alerted to potential offences under modern slavery legislation in May 2022. A child has been safeguarded and we are working closely with partners on continued support. As criminal proceedings are now under way we will not be providing further details.”
Ekweremadu, who is an official resident of London have been absent at Senate plenary and Committee sessions since the resumption of recess last week.
He has been in the UK for at least the past fortnight having met with members of the Nigerian community in Britain in Lincoln around ten days ago.
His last public outing in Nigeria was when he granted a now viral interview that although the Presidential Candidate of Labour Party in the 2023 election is from South East, the Igbos would vote for former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the Presidential Candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Ekweremadu had initially been a Governorship aspirant under the PDP in his native Enugu State but was maneouvered out, which led him to drop out of the race. He is not contesting any seat in the coming elections.
In 2017 a former Nigerian government minister claimed that migrants from his country were having their organs harvested after being sold into slavery.
Femi Fani-Kayode, a onetime aviation minister in Nigeria, claimed that 75 per cent of slaves who have their organs harvested in North Africa are from his country.
The Cambridge University-educated lawyer added that the victims have their ‘bodies mutilated’ and are ‘roasted like suya [shish kebabs]’. He went on: ‘Roasted alive! This is what Libyans do to sub-Saharan Africans who are looking for a transit point to Europe.
‘They sell them into slavery and either murder, mutilate, torture or work them to death.’