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Alleged organ harvesting: FG keeps mum over Ekweremadu, wife’s arrest, detention in UK

…lawyers call on FG to provideconsular support

Barely 72 hours after a former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice, were arrested at Heathrow Airport, London, over alleged organ harvesting, the Federal Government is yet to react. All efforts by Saturday Telegraph to get the position of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, were not successful.

Ekweremadu and his wife Beatrice were Thursday remanded in the UK Police custody, after they were arraigned before the Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court for alleged conspiracy to facilitate the travel of another person for organ harvesting and tried in court for allegedly plotting to harvest the kidney of a Nigerian minor. The UK Metropolitan Police had, in a statement confirming the arrest of the couple, said the duo were charged to court, following an investigation by the police’ specialist crime team.

But, the duo pleaded not guilty to the charges at the Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court. Meanwhile, lawyers have said the only thing the Nigerian government can do is to provide consular support. An Abuja-based Lawyer, Tosin Ojaomo, while reacting, said that “the government of Nigeria is expected to provide consular support to him in the UK. ”We must not forget the fact that he is presumed innocent until the contrary is proven before a court of competent jurisdiction.

“As a lawyer I call on the Nigerian government to offer all necessary consular assistance that the suspects may require in this matter”. Another Lawyer, Dr. Abdul Mahmud, in his reaction, said: “Perhaps, the only role is for our high commission to provide consular assistance in the area of legal representation”.

However, a former Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Muhammad Babandede, while featuring on Arise TV yesterday insisted that Ekweremadu’s issue is a case of trafficking and not only a passport issue, adding that it needs to be analyzed. “I will be very specific to you that this issue is a case of trafficking, not only passports.

The Metropolitan police are accusing Mr. and Mrs. Ekweremadu of trafficking a person for or-gan harvesting. “And when we talk about trafficking, there are many issues involved; we are talking about the act itself, the process and the purpose. “So, you need to analyze this before you even talk about the passport. Trafficking simply means you take a person from one place to another place by force with the intent of exploitation. “So, the issue is that even if that person was a child, let’s assume it is being circulated because we cannot say it is in the court of law. “The truth of the matter is that what you declare to the Immigration is what the Immigration gives, if we can prove that the person left Nigeria as a child and a passport was obtained to him as an adult even if he is a child”.

 

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