Organ Harvesting: UK Court sentenced Ekweremadu to 9 years imprisonment, Wife 4 yrs, Dr. Obeta 10yrs
A United Kingdom Court has sentenced former Deputy Senate President of Nigeria Ike Ekweremadu to nine years eight months in prison for organ trafficking plot.
Same Court also sentenced his wife Beatrice to four years six months imprisonment while Dr. Obinna Obeta, a medical practitioner who helped as a middleman to arrange for the organ trafficking was sentenced to ten years imprisonment and his license suspended by the court order.
The judge, Justice Jeremy Johnson had in March 23, 2023 found Ekwerenmadu, Beatrice and Dr.Obeta guilty of organ trafficking offence , he convicted the defendants but reserved the sentencing till today.
Organ-trafficking plot, is an offence under modern slavery laws in UK that carry a maximum of life sentence or 12 month imprisonment or an unspecific fine.
Senator Ike Ekweremadu, 60, his wife Beatrice, 56, and Dr Obinna Obeta, 50, were convicted of conspiring to exploit a 21-year-old man they took to the UK from Lagos for his kidney transplant to Ekwerenmadu’s daughter Sonia.
Sonia who charged along with his father and mother was discharged and acquitted of the charge after about 24 hours of ruling in March .
The court found that the victim, a street trader from Lagos, was brought to the UK last year to provide a kidney in an £80,000 private transplant at the Royal Free Hospital in London.
The court agreed with the prosecution that the victim was offered up to £7,000 and promised opportunities in the UK for helping, and that he only realised what was going on when he met doctors at the hospital.
Prosecution had alleged during trial that the defendants had tried to convince medics at the Royal Free by pretending he was the cousin of Sonia, who has a debilitating illness and remains on weekly dialysis, when intact they were not related.
The court said while it is lawful to donate a kidney, it becomes criminal if there is a reward of money or other material advantage.
According to court hearing, Royal Free consultant, Dr Peter Dupont, concluded the donor was unsuitable after learning he had no counselling or advice about the risks of surgery and lacked funds for the lifelong care he would need.
The court further heard that Ekweremadus then transferred their interest to Turkey and set about finding another donor.
An investigation was launched after the young man ran away from London and slept rough for days before walking into a police station in Staines, in Surrey, crying and in distress.
Narrating his fears, the victim told police: “The doctor said I was too young but the man said if you do not do it here he would carry me back to Nigeria and do it there.”
Jurors also heard that Sonia was studying for a masters degree at Newcastle University when she became ill in December 2019.
In 2021, her father enlisted the help of his medically-trained brother, Diwe Ekweremadu, to search for a donor, the court heard.
Diwe Ekweremadu, who remains in Nigeria, turned to a former classmate, Dr Obeta, of Southwark, south London, who recently had a private kidney transplant at the Royal Free with a Nigerian donor.
Dr Obeta then engaged with Dr Chris Agbo, of Vintage Health Group, a medical tourism company, as well as an agent to arrange a visa for the donor, the court heard.
After their convictions, Chief Crown Prosecutor Joanne Jakymec described the conspiracy as a “horrific plot”.
“The convicted defendants showed utter disregard for the victim’s welfare, health and well-being and used their considerable influence to a high degree of control throughout, with the victim having limited understanding of what was really going on here,” she added.
Det Insp Esther Richardson, of the Metropolitan Police, commended the victim for his bravery in speaking against the offenders.
She added police, the Crown Prosecution Service and Human Tissue Authority teams had “worked tirelessly” on the case, which is the first time that defendants have been convicted under the Modern Slavery Act of an organ-trafficking conspiracy.
Subsidy: Petrol hits N1,200 Per Litre in Ebonyi
Petrol now sells for N1,200 a litre in Ebonyi state, according to a report by NAN. The shocking change came after President Bola Tinubu announced the removal of fuel subsidy. Resident of Abakaliki in Ebonyi state were forced to buy petrol at a staggering N1,200 on Tuesday, according to the report. Scores of residents, who decried the high cost of petrol in the country, said they have since been engaged in panic buying. Some residents were also seen with their cans as many filling stations were under lock. A resident, Darlington Okeke, said panic buying was occasioned by Tinubu’s statement during his inauguration on Monday. Okeke stated that petrol in filling stations was sold between N800 and N1,200, against N230 per litre. Another resident, Ibrahim Ali, said black marketers sold a litre of fuel for N1,500, adding that the development was causing panic buying and frustration among residents. He, however, appealed to Tinubu to address the situation to mitigate panic buying and arbitrary hoarding of the products, which marketers introduced after the announcement by the president. Meanwhile, staff of some filling stations, who spoke under condition of anonymity, disclosed that the management of the Petroleum Dealers Association, Ebonyi State chapter, ordered the closure of fuel stations. “We are waiting for further directives,” they told NAN. Efforts to speak with the state chairman of the association, Sailas Njaka, on the development were not successful.
Troops eliminate ISWAP top commanders, 55 terrorists in Borno
At least 55 Islamic State–West Africa Province terrorists have been eliminated by Nigerian troops. Those killed included top commanders of the terrorist group. The mission was carried out by the Multinational Joint Task Force in Arege, Malam Fatori, Abadam Local Government Area of Borno State. The Niger Ministry of Defence said that it conducted a 22-day operation tagged Operation HARBIN ZUMA, targeting ISWAP strongholds. The operation, it said, was coordinated by troops of Sector 3 and Sector 4 of the MNJTF. The operation started on May 6, 2023, and ended on Sunday, May 28. According to its report, several top ISWAP commanders, including Fiya Abouzeid, Qaïd Abou Oumama, and Qaïd Malam Moustapha, as well as some religious leaders whose identities are unknown, were killed during the 22-day Operation HARBIN ZUMA. The Niger-Nigerian Air Task Force and land forces worked together to locate the enemy and cause significant damage. The troops destroyed 13 vehicles, 13 motorcycles and five Vehicles Borne Improvised Explosive Devices. Two soldiers from Nigérienne Sector 4 MNJTF were killed, three were slightly wounded, and one phantom Mrap was damaged during the operation. However, The Niger Ministry did not disclose any casualties on the Nigerian side. The main aim of Operation HARBIN ZUMA was to neutralise terrorists in their stronghold in Aregé, Nigeria. The operation also aimed to maintain pressure on the Islamic State in West Africa and eliminate any presence of armed terrorist groups in the BOSSO, BAGA, GOUDOUMBALI, and GASHIGAR areas. The operation also planned to cut off all supply routes for armed terrorist groups and reduce the threat in the region.
I pray Atiku succeeds in Nullifying Tinubu’s victory – Omokri
A former presidential aide, Reno Omokri has asked God to help Atiku Abubakar, the 2023 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party to nullify President Bola Tinubu’s victory. Omokri took to social media to pray to God. The staunch Atiku’s ally applauded Tinubu for his bold statement on subsidy removal, meeting the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and the Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mele Kyari, same day he assumed office. Tweeting, Omokri said unlike the immediate last president, Muhammadu Buhari, Tinubu started work immediately he assumed office. According to Omokri: “Making a bold statement on subsidy removal and backing it up with action. Meeting Godwin Emefiele, then Mele Kyari.“Making a string of appointments. Asserting his authority over the DSS in their face-off with the EFCC.“Tinubu, unlike Buhari, has hit the ground running. I sincerely pray that our petition will succeed and President Tinubu’s election will be nullified.“But be that as it may, I must commend the actions of his first 24 hours in office.”
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