The UK Metropolitan Police has revealed that the child in the centre of an Organ Harvesting Case involving Former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu is below 18 years.
POLITICS NIGERIA on Thursday reported that Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice were arrested for plotting to bring in a child from Nigeria for Organ Harvesting.
Both were charged with conspiracy to arrange or facilitate travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting. The have been remanded in custody and will appear at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.
The Metropolitan Police revealed that the child who is under the age of 18 is in care. Organ harvesting involves removing parts of the body, often for cash and against the victim’s will.
The police, however, did not reveal the gender or the actual age of the child – or the location of the arrests. But given the suspects are appearing in court in Uxbridge, it is likely they were held at the nearby Heathrow Airport.
Ekweremadu has been in the UK for at least two weeks having met with members of the Nigerian community in Britain in Lincoln around ten days ago. An investigation was launched into his activities after detectives were alerted to potential offences under modern slavery legislation in May.
POLITICS NIGERIA has gathered more details of the case following a court appearance by Ekweremadu and his wife. The court heard the couple, who have four children and a house in Willesden, North London, hoped to transplant the boy’s organs to their daughter who suffers from kidney failure.
Police were alerted to potential offences under modern slavery laws last month and arrested the couple two days ago at Heathrow Airport as they attempted to board a plane to Turkey, the court heard. Ekweremadu, 60, is said to have had £20,000 on him on at the time of his arrest, according to prosecutors.
The child is now under the care of safeguarding authorities and the Metropolitan Police, officials say.
Ekweremadu and accountant wife Beatrice, 55, are charged with conspiracy to arrange or facilitate travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting.
The senator was wearing a grey sweater while his wife was wearing a black and white knitted cardigan at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court today, the Mail Online reported.
Prosecutor Damla Ayas said: ‘It is conspiracy in relation to human trafficking offences for the purposes of organ harvesting. The victim in this case is 15 years old
‘They the couple were interviewed at the police station. Both of the defendants have provided a prepared statement.
‘Mr Ekweremadu in his prepared statement denied allegations of human trafficking.
‘He said at no stage has he arranged transport for anyone with intention to exploit them.’
His wife similarly denied the allegations in her prepared statement, the court heard.
Gavin Irwin, representing Ekweremadu, said: ‘There is no question this is a serious allegation. Mr Ekweremadu is a member of the senate in Nigeria.
‘He has previously held an even more senior role as deputy president of the senate.
Ms Ayas said: ‘In respect of these offences Attorney General consent is required and the Crown require 14 days for that to be obtained.’
Magistrate Lois Sheard said: ‘These are serious allegations and these matters are now adjourned until 7 July back here at Uxbridge.’
Ms Sheard remanded both defendants into custody ahead of their hearing next month. The Ekweremadus are charged with ‘conspiring to arrange or facilitate travel of another person with a view to exploitation….between 1 August 2021 and 5 May 2022 within the jurisdiction of Central Criminal Court’.
The investigation was launched by the Met’s Specialist Crime team after detectives were alerted to potential offences under modern slavery legislation in May 2022. The Met Police has confirmed that the boy is safe and being looked after.