Sonia Ekweremadu

Ekweremadu’s daughter reject parents’ conviction, sentencing by UK court, says ‘no grudge against Nwamini’ (+video)

Advertisements
Advertisements

Sonia, the sick daughter of Senator Ike Ekweremadu and wife, Beatrice, has disagreed with the sentencing of her parents to various jail terms by a United Kingdom Crown Court, Friday for offences bordering on organ harvesting.

(From left)..Senator Ike Ekweremadu, wife and Doctor Obeta

This is also as the dialysis-ridden Sonia who suffers a rare kidney disease, has said she holds no grudge towards Mr. David Ukpo Nwamini, the man who blew the lid on the organ donation in London.

Advertisements

Reports have also that the medical doctor had shortchanged Mr Nwamini by over N4 million allegedly released by Senator Ekweremadu for the welfare of the kidney donor.

While Senator Ekweremadu bagged 9 years and eight months, his wife, Beatrice got four years, while the doctor who scouted the kidney donor, Obeta received 10 years in prison.

In an interview broadcast on BBC channel, Friday, Sonia described the situation as ‘sad’ as she also rejected the sentencing of her parents by the court, even as she accepted the reality of the situation which sees the Ekweremadus spending at least four years in prison for the offences.

It would be recalled that Senator Ekweremadu and wife, along with the doctor were in March, this year, convicted of organ trafficking, in the first verdict of its kind under the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

Following the guilty verdicts by Justice Jeremy Johnson, Ekweremadu and his wife were remanded in custody and await sentencing on May 5.

The duo faced the accusations alongside a medical doctor, Obinna Obeta, and their daughter, Sonia, who was cleared of charges after the jury deliberated for nearly 14 hours.

The Ekweremadus were arrested and had been in the custody of UK authorities after they received complaints from the young man about their alleged plans to harvest his organ.

According to Daily Mail, the young man, a trader from Lagos, was to be rewarded for donating a kidney to Sonia in an £80,000 private procedure at the Royal Free Hospital in London.

Newsmen reports that the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 frowns on human trafficking under which organ harvesting falls.

According to the human trafficking offence in Section 2 Subsection 1 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, a person commits an offence if the person arranges or facilitates the travel of another person (“V”) with a view to V being exploited.

Subsection 2 states that it is irrelevant whether V consents to the travel (whether V is an adult or a child).

In Section 2 Subsection 7, the law stated that “a person who is not a UK national commits an offence under this section if any part of the arranging or facilitating takes place in the United Kingdom, or the travel consists of arrival in or entry into, departure from, or travel within, the United Kingdom.”

The penalties under the Act stated in Section 5 Subsection that 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.

In Section 5 Subsection 2, a person guilty of an offence under Section 4 is liable (unless Subsection 3 applies), (a)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years; (b)on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or a fine or both.

Subsection 3 states that where the offence under Section 4 is committed by kidnapping or false imprisonment, a person guilty of that offence is liable, on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for life.

However, the trial judge, Justice Jeremy Johnson, had at the sentencing Friday, sentenced Ekweremadu to nine years and eight months, while his wife Beatrice and Obinna Obetta got four years and 10 years jail terms, respectively.

The sentence became the first of its kind under the Modern Slavery Act, following their conviction for organ trafficking in March, which lasted for six weeks.

Meanwhile, in the interview conducted shortly after the conviction of the Ekweremadus, but before the sentencing, last Friday, but was, however, broadcast same day as the UK court jailed the senator and his wife, along with the doctor who handled the donor scouting, Sonia expressed sadness over her parents’ ravails.

“It’s sad and it’s been really hard for me to wrap my head around it. I understand the conviction, but personally I disagree with it. However, that’s from a finer perspective personal as their daughter and I would always, always back my parents. However the law has taken its course and we just have to as a family move forward.

“It was in August of 2021 that I found out that a medical option existed by way of a kidney transplant. Either that or a life on dialysis

“I wasn’t involved (in the organ search) at all. It was basically my family that handled everything hat had to do with my medical side.

On whether she was aware that her parents were bringing someone from Nigeria to the UK for the purpose of the medical procedure, Sonia admitted knowing,

“I was aware that someone did come forward. He had come to the UK with my uncle. My mom and I wanted to thank him for that.”

On whether she knew that the donor as her cousin as portrayed in court, Sonia hesitated before replying; “I can’t answer that.”

Sonia said he felt no hard feelings towards David Ukpo Nwamini, the failed kidney donor, saying; “I wish him all the best.”

Sonia, however, apologised to her parents for the outcome of the organ donor search, saying: “I would like to use this opportunity to apologise to them for the way everything has played out.”

Sonia Ekweremadu interview on BBC

Meanwhile, a female Twitter user Olaudah Equiano (@RealOlaudah), Friday provide an insight into the Ekweremadus’ organ harvesting saga, by claiming that Doctor Obeta, who was tasked with securing a willing donor for Sonia may have exposed the deal through his dishonest acts.

According to Olaudah, in her narrative titled; ‘SOME LITTLE DETAILS YOU DID NOT KNOW ABOUT IN THE EKWEREMADU CASE,’ the doctor shortchanged David Ukpo Nwamini, the kidney donor by over four million, which prompted the former to rush to the UK Police to raise the alarm.

“David Ukpo Nwamini is the 21-year old Lagos street hawker who was to give his kidney to Ekweremadu’s daughter IN London. When he was interviewed at the hospital in London, they asked him if he knew he was to donate his kidney to Sonia Ekweremadu. He first told them that he had no money to donate. They explained to him that it was his kidney that he was to donate. He asked them what was kidney. Initially, the doctors thought it was a question of language, since David’s English was not good enough. However, they eventually understood that David did not know which human organ was called kidney. In other words, he did not know what organ he was to give Sonia. That led the doctors to conclude that the procedure was not well-explained to David and that is the number one requirement by law. According to the law, you must explain to the organ donor the procedure and all the health risks associated with the procedure. It is only then that the donor is taken to have informedly consented. When the doctors found that David did not understand what he was about to get involved in, they declared him a mismatch.

“The doctors who interviewed David did not and could not have determined that a crime was committed. The doctors did not have sufficient information to reach such conclusion then. They felt uncomfortable with the discrepancies in the information they had about the donor and his decisions and whether he had made up his mind. For instance, the doctors did not get involved in how David was brought to them or whether he was paid. It was not their duty to deal with that. It was actually when Ekweremadu and Dr. Obinna attempted to return David to Nigeria that the problem started. David expected that he would be given a job in London as he was told before he left Nigeria. They did not give him job and they did not send him to school. Instead of all he was promised, he was asked to prepare to return to Nigeria and David ran away from the house where he was kept. As hunger wired him, he reported himself to the police. To win the immediate protection of the police, he lied about his age by telling them he was 15. It was when he was interviewed by the police that the information came out which established that a crime was committed. For instance, it was at the police station that they asked him if he was paid money and he said yes he was paid N270,000. When the police checked the WhatsApp chats between Ekweremadu and Dr. Obeta they  realized that Ekweremadu actually paid 4.5 million for Obeta to pay to David. But Obeta only paid David N270,000 and pocketed the rest.

“In fact, Ekweremadu tried to keep himself away from certain details of the deal. That was why Ekweremadu never discussed money with David. In fact, he did not deal directly with David. That was what made it possible for Obeta to cheat him. Ekweremadu believed that the 4.5 million went to David. But since he was not dealing with David directly, he never knew that Obeta pocketed most of the money. However, the law viewed Ekweremadu’s decision not to deal directly with David as a typical behavior of a big man who knew that he is getting involved in a crime. He would usually try to create some distance between him and the crime, yet he will be funding the crime from afar.”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *