Nigerian senator trafficked to UK to harvest kidneys

A wealthy Nigerian politician and his wife have been convicted of trafficking street traders from Lagos to the UK to illegally harvest his kidneys for the transplant of their seriously ill daughter .

Prosecutors said Ike Ekwelemadu, 60, and his wife Beatrice, 56, brought the man to London last February with an offer of several thousand dollars to buy an organ and the promise of a job in the UK.

Ekwelemadu, an opposition senator from southern Nigeria’s Enugu state and former vice-president of the Senate, and his wife were important figures in Nigerian society with power, influence and “considerable wealth,” the Old Bailey Court in London said. Told.

They were found guilty of conspiring to arrange another person’s trip for the purpose of exploitation and were described by prosecutors as middlemen, along with Obinna Obeta, 51, a Nigerian doctor.

“This was a terrifying scheme to exploit vulnerable victims and traffic them to the UK for kidney transplants.”

“The convicted defendant has exercised considerable influence with complete disregard for the welfare, health and welfare of the victim and with little understanding of what was really going on. I had a high degree of control over the whole thing.”

Sonia Ekwelemadu, a scheduled recipient of an organ with a serious and deteriorating kidney condition and requiring dialysis, was found not guilty of any part of the plan.

A case came to light when a man who made a living selling phone parts from market carts in Lagos went to police saying he had been trafficked and someone was trying to harvest his kidneys. rice field.

The proposed transplant has sparked suspicions about the circumstances surrounding the proposed donor, about 21 years old, whose family cannot be named for legal reasons, whose family tried to pass off as Sonia’s cousin, a consultant at London’s Royal Free Hospital. I never moved forward.

Kidney donation is not illegal in the UK, but offering a reward is a crime, regardless of whether the donor is complicit or not.

“But there are certain things that money and status cannot guarantee for any family, and that includes health,” prosecutor Hugh Davis told the court.

Thursday’s conviction is the first time someone has been convicted of trafficking for organ harvesting in the UK, police said.

“This conviction sends a clear message to the world that the UK will not tolerate illegal organ harvesting by an international industry,” Lieutenant Esther Richardson said in a statement.

Ike, Beatrice Ekwemadu and Obeta will be sentenced on May 5.

https://www.perthnow.com.au/news/crime/nigerian-senator-trafficked-man-to-uk-to-harvest-kidney-c-10137165 Nigerian senator trafficked to UK to harvest kidneys

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