Olusegun Obasanjo, the former president of Nigeria, has written a heartfelt letter to the court’s Chairman requesting a lenient sentence for the Nigerian Senator and his wife, Beatrice, who were found guilty of organ trafficking by London’s Central Criminal Court.
Ekweremadu, his wife, and a doctor were found guilty last month by the UK court, often known as the Old Bailey, of arranging the flight of a young man from Lagos to London with the intention of abusing him for his kidney.
In violation of the UK’s Modern Slavery Act, they allegedly offered up to N3.5 million to buy the body part for their unwell daughter.
Sonia, a daughter of the former Deputy Senate President, is said to be down with kidney failure and requires a transplant to stay alive.
Obasanjo, in his letter dated April 3, 2023, urged the Clark of the London Central Criminal Court to use his “good office” to appeal for leniency in the sentence of the trio on compassionate grounds.
He described Ekweremadu and his wife as “God-fearing” Nigerians who have used their position in society to better humanity and continue to play visible roles in national development.
Obasanjo’s letter partly reads, “Through the lkeoha Foundation, a non-governmental organization founded by him and his wife, in 1997, he and his wife have rendered a lot of charitable activities, enhancing poor people’s access to quality education and healthcare and building their capacity to participate in mainstream social, political and economic activities of their communities. Ike Ekweremadu’s conferment with the coveted national honour of Commander of the Federal Republic, CFR, Is further testimony to his selfless service to our our country, Nigeria.
“Mr. Chief Clerk, I am very much aware of the current travails and conviction of Ike Ekweremadu and his wife in the United Kingdom resulting from their being charged with conspiring to arrange the travel of a 21-year old from Nigeria to the UK in order to harvest organs for their daughter.
“I do realise the implications of their action and I dare say, It is unpleasant and condemnable and can’t be tolerated in any sane or civilized society.
“However, it is my fervent desire that for the very warm relations between the United Kingdom and Federal Republic of Nigeria; for his position as one of the distinguished Senators in the Nigerian Parliament, and also for the sake of their daughter in question whose current health condition is in danger and requires an urgent medical attention, you will use your good offices to intervene and appeal to the court and the government of the United Kingdom to be magnanimous enough to temper Justice with mercy and let punishment that may have to come take their good character and parental instinct and care into consideration.
“I do hope Mr. and Mrs. Ekweremadu have learnt from this distressing experience of theirs to guide their future actions or inactions so they will continue to be outstanding members of their community and will continue to contribute fully to the good of the society in particular and the nation in general.”