Former Deputy President of the Nigerian Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Beatrice, have been sentenced to jail terms for organ trafficking by the Central Criminal Court, Old Bailey, UK. The court handed Ekweremadu a hefty sentence of nine years and eight months, while his wife was given four years and six months.
The couple was found guilty of conspiring to traffic a young Nigerian trader to the UK to harvest his kidney. The crime is a violation of the UK’s Modern Slavery Act 2015. The victim was just 21 years old at the time of the crime.
The verdict marks a significant milestone in the UK’s efforts to curb the growing menace of organ trafficking. This is the first time that the UK has secured a conviction under the Modern Slavery Act for this crime.
The case against Ekweremadu and his wife was built around the testimony of the victim, who narrated how he was lured to the UK under false pretenses and then coerced into undergoing a kidney transplant. The victim was promised $100,000 for his organ but was only paid a fraction of the amount.
In sentencing the couple, the judge emphasized the gravity of their crime and the harm it caused to the victim. The judge also highlighted the need to send a strong message to those involved in organ trafficking that their actions will not be tolerated.
The verdict has been welcomed by anti-trafficking campaigners, who have long called for stiffer penalties for those involved in organ trafficking. The case is expected to serve as a deterrent to other criminals involved in this illicit trade.