A former Nigerian deputy senate president has been accused with planning to take a youngster to the United Kingdom in order to harvest organs.
Ike Ekweremadu, 60, and his wife Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu, 55, appeared earlier on Thursday at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court in west London.
The accused victim, a 15-year-old boy, has been brought into custody. The Met Police stated that authorities were working to assist him.
The victim whose travel was facilitated to the UK by the suspects was said to be a homeless boy picked from the streets of Lagos under false pretence.
The statement added that the investigation was launched after detectives were alerted to potential offences under modern slavery legislation in May 2022
The accused live in Nigeria but have relations in London, according to the magistrates. Both were charged with conspiring to organize and/or facilitate another person’s travel for the purpose of exploitation.
The pair were asked by the clerk for their address, to which they both replied: “Nigeria”.
The court heard the prosecution needed permission to proceed because of jurisdiction issues.
Prosecutor Damla Ayas told the court: “In respect of these offences the (UK) Attorney General’s consent is required and the Crown require 14 days for that to be obtained.”
The Ekweremadus, who were arrested two days ago, have been remanded in custody to appear at the same court on 7 July.
The suspects were arrested at Heathrow airport on their way to Instabul. Reports claim they were planning to procure a kidney from a donor in Turkey, after their initial plan failed.
Ekweremadu, who was recently appointed as a visiting lecturer at the University of Lincoln, spent three terms as Senate Deputy President from 2007 to 2019.
He has been a senator since 2003, representing the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
After investigators were informed to probable modern-day slavery offenses, the Metropolitan Police’s Specialist Crime Team launched an investigation.
Organ harvesting is the removal of portions of the body, generally for financial benefit and against the victim’s will.
According to a representative for the Institution of Lincoln, “Visiting professors are frequently, as in this case, non-resident at the university, unpaid, and consultative.”
“We are deeply concerned about the nature of these allegations but as this is an active police investigation, we cannot comment further at this stage.”