Ekweremadu's organ trafficking victim wants to go to school, play football
The victim fears he could be arrested or killed if he returns to Nigeria.
The Central Criminal Court of England and Wales on Friday, May 5, 2023, sentenced the former deputy senate president to more than nine years in prison, nearly a year after he was arrested in London alongside his wife, Beatrice.
Prosecutors charged the couple with organ harvesting in a plot to engineer a kidney transplant for their ill daughter, Sonia, at the Royal Free Hospital in London.
It's unlawful in the UK for an organ donation to be rewarded with monetary or material incentive, but the prosecution proved the family arranged £7,000 to secure the victim's kidney.
Found guilty like her husband, the court also sentenced Beatrice to four years and six months in prison on Friday.
Victim fears for his life
In an impact statement read before the court, according to a report by the UK's The Independent, the victim said he's afraid to return to Nigeria. He grew up poor as the oldest of seven children and was forced to become a street trader to provide for his family when his father developed a heart problem.
He said the Ekweremadus approached him through Dr Obinna Obeta with an opportunity of a lifetime to work in the UK but didn't give him the full scope of what he would do.
"I would have not agreed to any of this, my body is not for sale," he said.
The court also jailed Dr Obeta for 10 years during Friday's sentencing.
The victim further told the court that the Ekweremadus are dangerous and his family has previously been pressured to drop the case. He said he could be arrested or killed if he returned to Nigeria.
The 21-year-old told the court he wants no compensation from his tormentors and just wants to move ahead with his life.
"My plan now is to work and to get an education and to play football," he said.
Clemency pleas from Nigeria fail Ekweremadu
According to The Independent, Ekweremadu's legal team submitted 51 pages of character reference to support a lenient sentence for him and his wife.
The team submitted pleas from the former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, the current speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.
The Senate and House of Representatives also made public pleas this week to sway the judgement of the court.
But in his ruling, Justice Johnson said the three convicts each played a part in what he termed "a form of slavery".
Ekweremadu has been a senator since 2003 when he won the election to represent Enugu West senatorial district, serving as deputy senate president between 2007 and 2019.
Even though he's still officially recognised as the occupant of the seat after winning a fifth term four years ago, he didn't participate in the 2023 election, as a result of his detention.
Osita Ngwu, the winner of the election, will replace him in the upper legislative chamber when the 10th National Assembly is inaugurated in June.
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