Nigerian Senator, his Wife, and Doctor Found Guilty of Organ Harvesting Conspiracy

Published: 28 March 2023

Ike-and-Beatrice-Ekweremadu-Obinna-Obeta 0Ike Ekweremadu, Beatrice Ekweremadu, Obinna Obeta. (Photo: The Crown Prosecution Service, License)

By Vinicius Madureira

A London court found a Nigerian senator, his wife, and a doctor guilty of conspiring to arrange for a man from Nigeria to travel to London to have his kidney removed and donated to the couple’s daughter, the United Kingdom prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

It is the first verdict of this kind under the Modern Slavery Act, a law that aims to combat modern slavery and human trafficking.

Chief Crown Prosecutor Joanne Jakymec described the plot as “horrific,” saying that the vulnerable victim would be exploited by having his kidney removed and donated to Sonia Ekweremadu, the daughter of senator Ike Ekweremadu and his wife Beatrice Ekweremadu. The girl needed a transplant due to renal problems.

The victim, a 21-year-old male from Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city, was misled into believing that he was being brought to the U.K. to earn money for his family.

The victim became aware of the true purpose of his visit after undergoing health screening at The Royal Free Hospital in London. He allegedly had limited understanding of the situation and became fearful.

The doctor at the hospital became suspicious about the circumstances surrounding the proposed transplant and decided not to go ahead with it.

In May 2022, the victim arrived at a police station to report what was happening to him. He said he was sleeping outside for three days hoping someone would help him and save his life.

Ike, Beatrice and Dr Obinna Obeta created a false impression that the victim and Sonia were cousins. The victim’s visa application stated that the senator would sponsor the alleged medical treatment to enable him to donate his kidney to Sonia in the Royal Free Hospital in London.

It added that he would be donating an organ to his “closest cousin” in appreciation for her sacrifices towards him, his family and community.

The application also stated that he was willing to put his life on the line for Sonia to live and “continue her good service to humanity.”

Once in the U.K., the victim was provided with false information to present to the medical team at the hospital. The convicted defendants were described as having shown complete “disregard for the victim’s welfare, health, and well-being,” said Jakymec.