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A former Nigerian politician is accused of conspiring or arranging to traffick a street trader to the UK to harvest organs for his sick daughter, who had a worsening kidney condition, the Old Bailey heard.
Ike Ekweremadu is charged with conspiring to arrange or facilitate the travel of the young street trader with exploitation plans between August 2021 and May last year. Mr Ekweremadu, a former deputy president of the senate in Nigeria, his wife Beatrice, and their 25-year-old daughter, Sonia, and a medical “middleman” have denied the claims.
It is believed the young man was offered up to £7,000 for the kidney, prosecutors claim.
The street trader was also promised a better life if he made the journey to London, posing as Sonia’s cousin.
Prosecutors also said the alleged plan was for the 21-year-old’s kidney to be removed at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead before being transplanted into Sonia.
The young man reportedly did not understand that he was there for a kidney transplant until his first appointment with a consultant at the hospital, the court heard.
The consultant told the jurors the man had a “limited understanding” of what he was there for and was “visibly relieved” when told the transplant would not go ahead.
The ex-politician and his family along with Dr Obeta have denied helping facilitate or arranging the travel of the street trader with a view of exploitation.
They are on trial at the Old Bailey in London.
Sonia’s condition is said to be “deteriorating”.
But, prosecutor Hugh Davies KC said: “There are, however, certain things that money and status cannot guarantee in any family and they include good health.”
He continued: “Most parents, whether powerful or not in society, will do whatever is necessary to alleviate suffering in their child.
“The Ekweremadus were no different: the evidence – from downloads from their mobile phones, and wider actions – demonstrates a close, open and loving family each with an understandable and direct interest in Sonia’s medical treatment.”
The man, who reportedly used to sell telephone parts from a cart in public markets, was believed to have been paid from £2,400 to £7,000 in Nigerian Naira.
Mr Davies told the court: “To him – a street trader from Lagos – these sums and rewards were significant.”
The trial continues.
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