Ed Malik & Starrys Obazei.

It is no longer news that Nigeria’s former Senate Deputy President Dr. Ike Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice were arrested in London and will be arraigned soon because of organ harvesting charges involving a child.

The case could have been different if a full adult is involved instead of a minor.

It was a well-arranged business deal between Ekweremadu, his wife Beatrice and the parents of the child, who also looked beyond the trip to carve a future for himself in the United Kingdom.

According to the story, some people had convinced the child’s parents that with only one kidney, he would survive, and the arrangement was subsequently sealed in Nigeria between the Ekweremadus and the child’s parents.

The Ekweremadus were arrested in London for alleged conspiracy to harvest the organ of a child, who is currently in protective custody according to a report.

If convicted, the couple may get a maximum of life sentence or 12 months imprisonment or a fine or both on summary conviction under the United Kingdom’s Modern Slavery Act 2015.

The Act read, “A person guilty of an offence under Section 1 or 2 is liable (a) on conviction, on indictment, to imprisonment for life; (b) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or a fine or both.”

“The charges follow an investigation by the Metropolitan Police Specialist Crime team.

However, a source who subscribed to anonymity, said the crux of the matter is extreme poverty in Nigeria.

“The poor child needed the money and exposure to life in the UK.

“But one thing the boy did not remember is that he is still a minor and cannot decide the weighty matter by himself.

“And the parents deciding it is like an act of slavery.

“That is why If convicted, the couple may get a maximum of life sentence or 12 months imprisonment or a fine or both on summary conviction under the United Kingdom’s Modern Slavery Act 2015.

“Morally, these parents just wanted the money; they didn’t care about the boy’s safety and future. They simply ‘sold’ the boy into slavery.”

However, another health professional who volunteered his opinion, though wanted to remain anonymous because, as he said, “the case is too sensitive and the facts are not exactly clear yet”, saying that the angle that should agitate the minds of the people is whether the proper evaluation guidelines for kidney donation were followed by the Ekweremadus and their healthcare provider, to assess the physical and mental health of the boy, among other considerations.

“The age of the child or prospective donor must be ascertained first because the standard is a minimum of 22 years but there have been rare cases where donors were just 18 years of early adulthood”

Also, the health professional explained that the usual practice is to counsel or coach a potential donor on the short or long-term risks associated with kidney donation. But “in this case, I guess the child is too young to understand the implication of what he was being drawn into, because this is one of the conditions to be spelt out in the guidelines”, he said.

According to a public affairs analyst, Barrister Mack Ogbamosa, he does not believe Senator Ekweremadu could be involved in such despicable act because of his exposure and education.
“He may truly have wanted to help his kidney needing daughter as a parent and the offer by this boy’s parents may seem as light in a dark tunnel not knowing their intention was different, which could have been couched blackmail, hence the case should be properly investigated and the parents of the boy questioned,” he opined.
And as reported in The Punch, the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra described the arrest of the former Deputy Senate President for alleged child trafficking and organ harvesting as sacrilegious.

While applauding the development, MASSOB vowed to commit Ekweremadu and his wife to the ancestors for speedy trial and judgment to serve as a “deterrent to many of their likes who are in the business of organ harvesting,” which it said had increased the wanton killings in the South-East.

DDNewsonline will keep tracking this story for the benefit of our readers.

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