UK court jails Nigerian senator for more than 9 yrs for kidney-trafficking plot

A London court has jailed Nigerian politician Ike Ekweremadu for nine years and eight months in Britain’s first illegal organ-harvesting prosecution, the Crown Prosecution Service said on Friday.

Ekweremadu’s wife Beatrice, 56, and London-based doctor Obinna Obeta, 51, were sentenced to four years and six months, and ten years, respectively, the CPS said, for conspiring to arrange the travel of a man in order to harvest his organs.

They were convicted in March of trafficking a street trader from Lagos to Britain to illegally harvest his kidney for a transplant for their sick daughter.

Ike Ekweremadu, is a senator and Deputy Senate President of Nigeria. He was born on May 12, 1962 at Amachara Mpu Village in Aninri Local Government Area of Enugu State, into the royal family of the late Igwe Mathias Ekweremadu, the Okwaa Anekeoji 1 of Mpu, Aninri Local Government Area of Enugu State.

Ike Ekweremadu is 60 years old.

On completing primary school education, Ekweremadu proceeded to St. Dominic’s Secondary School, Ugiri, Imo State and then transferred to Boys’ Secondary School, Umueze Awkunanaw, where he obtained a Grade 1 in his West African School Certificate.

He secured admission to study Law at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) and graduated in 1986. He completed Law School and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1987.

Thereafter, he went further to obtain his Masters in Law from the same University in 1999 and then completed his Doctorate programme at the University of Abuja in 2014.

Ike Ekweremadu began his political career at the grassroots when he held the position of Chairman of Mpu Town Union, Enugu State.

He was elected the pioneer Chairman of Aninri Local Government Council when it was created in 1997.  His performance won him the Best Council Chairman award of the year in 1997.

He was appointed Chief of Staff, Enugu State Government House and subsequently the Secretary to the Government of Enugu State from 1999 to 2003.

In 2003, Ekweremadu, for the first time, contested in the Senatorial election and won. He was elected Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to represent Enugu West Senatorial District on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

While in the Senate, Ekweremadu was elected the Deputy President of the Nigerian Senate in 2007. As the Deputy President of the Senate, he was given the job of handing out committee chairmanship positions allocated to the southeast zone, making decisions that were unpopular with some senators.

In July 2007, he was instrumental to defusing objections to the controversial nomination of Ojo Maduekwe to a ministerial position.

In September 2009, Ekweremadu was made co-chairman of a committee to conduct the primary elections for the Peoples Democratic Party’s governorship aspirants in Anambra State. In September 2009, he was appointed to lead the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

He was also in an ad hoc committee whose duty was to work for the return of constitutional order in Niger Republic.

He was elected First Deputy Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament and emerged the Speaker of the regional parliament in August 2011. Again in 2011, he retained his position as Deputy President of the Senate.

In the senatorial election of 2015, he again contested and was re-elected as a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to represent Enugu West Senatorial District. It is important to state here that he was again adopted as the Deputy President of the Senate.

Sen. Ekweremadu has several motions and bills to his credit.  In addition, he was the Chairman of the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on the 1999 Constitution Review. The free and fair elections experienced in 2011 derives its credence from the Electoral Reform which was duly facilitated by the Constitution Review Committees of the National Assembly.

Ekweremadu is happily married to Lady Nwanneka Ekweremadu (PhD) and the family is blessed with four children.

The senator has to his credit several awards, honours, and traditional titles.  He was inducted as a Knight of the Order of the Good Shepherd, Diocese of Enugu (Anglican Communion)

His Awards, Honours, and Recognitions include:

Dr Kwame Nkrumah Africa Leadership Award

Doctor of Laws, LLD (Honoris Causa) University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State

Ochiagha Ndigbo (Generalissimo of Igboland) by Eze Nri, the custodian of Igbo culture and tradition;

Ikeoha Ndigbo (Pride and Strength of Ndigbo) by the South East Council of Traditional Rulers.

He also holds the National Honour of the Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR).

His net worth was not available at the time of his fall from grace. (Reuters/NAN)