Nigerian former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, appeared in court on Thursday alongside his wife, as proceedings continued on an alleged plot to harvest human organ.

The 60-year-old who has been charged under Britain’s Modern Slavery Act, took to the stands at Uxbridge Magistrate’s Court in London clad in a grey tracksuit whilst holding a Bible. Consent of the Attorney General will be required for further proceedings since part of the organ trafficking offence was committed outside the shores of United Kingdom.

Meanwhile, Beatrice Ekweremadu, his wife and accomplice, was tried on the day. Beatrice had requested that the court permit close appearance to the former Senate President, citing that she has not been privy to him since the last hearing held a week ago. The court denied such request.

Meanwhile, the prosecution tendered a case stating that the victim David Ukpo, who claimed that he was coerced to donate his kidney to Ekweremadu’s daughter, is 15 years old. Allegations made highlighted that a criminal gang had picked Ukpo on the streets of Lagos some months ago, with the intentions of harvesting his organ. This was according to the court.

The court further argued that the accused is an influential person and a flight risk. They also labelled the case as modern slavery; one which involves a child, hence, good reason for a remand.

In his defence, Ekweremadu’s legal counsel stated that the accused has led a blameless life. However, no bail application has been made so far. The session was then adjourned to July 7, and will be held at Westminster Magistrate Court. This was done to create ample time for Suella Braverman, the UK Attorney General, to determine whether the trial will be held in UK or Nigeria.

Reports state that Ike Ekweremadu and his wife will remain in UK police custody without bail.

Present during Thursday’s session was the Senator’s two children, and a delegation from the Nigeria High Commission. According to the Nigerian Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, the delegation was sent to visit the remanded Ekweremadus. This he said after a closed-door session with other lawmakers in Abuja. Lawan confirmed that members of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs will be sent to the United Kingdom.

‘There will be a delegation to London to see Senator Ike Ekweremadu and his wife. A delegation from the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Senate will leave in the next two days for London for that purpose’ he said.

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