The House of Representatives has requested the Central Criminal Court of the United Kingdom and the British Government to “temper justice with mercy” in sentencing Senator Ike Ekweremadu, his wife, Beatrice Ekweremadu, and Dr Obinna Obeta, who is based in the United Kingdom.
The House also requested the Federal Government of Nigeria to “take all necessary diplomatic steps and other interventions regarding the travails of the Ekwermadu family.”
The House directed its Clerk, Yahaya Danzaria, to notify the British Government and the court of the resolutions.
Recall that the Central Criminal Court had on March 23, 2023 found Ekweremadus alongside Obeta guilty of organ trafficking in the UK by criminally conspiring to bring a 21-year-old Lagos street trader to London to harvest his kidney for Sonia Ekweremadu, who has a kidney ailment.
The call for clemency by the House was sequel to the unanimous adoption of a motion of urgent public importance by the Deputy Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu, titled ‘Motion on the Need for Clemency for Senator Ike Ekweremadu.’
Okechukwu, who noted that the sentencing of the couple was scheduled for May 5, said, “Senator Ike Ekweremadu acted within his limited knowledge of the UK laws and did write to the UK High Commission to support the medical visa application for the potential donor and did declare the purpose of the trip.
“Senator Ekweremadu and Mrs Beatrice acted under the natural instincts of parents to save an ailing daughter, and not for commercial purposes.
“It is a common practice in International Relations for nations, including the UK, to seek relief for their citizens involved in situations such as that of the Ekweremadu. The House is also aware of the longstanding history and cordial ties between Nigeria and the UK.
“The House is cognisant that elder statesmen such as former President Olusegun Obasanjo have made a passionate plea for clemency, testifying also to Senator Ekweremadu’s character as a patriot, god-fearing, philanthropic and progressive citizen who has served Nigeria and West Africa as former three-term Deputy President of the Senate as well as Deputy Speaker and Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament.”
The Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, in his remarks, urged “the court to consider the noble acts of Ike Ekweremadu’s life and judge him on the totality of that life rather than solely on this last worst act.”
He added that “I am confident that Ike Ekweremadu and his wife have learned from their recent experiences and will be guided by their better angels for the rest of their days. If nothing else, for the sake of their ailing daughter, Sonia, let mercy temper justice for this family.”
Meanwhile, the Speaker of the Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States, Dr Sidie Tunis, has also pleaded that the UK court ‘temper justice with mercy’ in sentencing the Ekweremadus.
In an April 6, 2023 letter to the Chief Clerk, Central Criminal Court Old Bailey, London, Tunis gave reasons why the UK court should be merciful to the Ekweremadus.
Tunis wrote, “Ekweremadu is highly appreciated in the parliament and the West African sub-region for his sterling roles in the development of the Community Parliament and the preservations and stabilisation of democracy in the sub-region.”
He added that“Concerning his daughter, Sonia, I wish to state that it is a common feeling among parents, especially in Africa, not to bury or survive his or her child. As a father, therefore, I can easily relate to the pains, dilemma, and crossroads of the Senator and his wife over the health condition of their ailing daughter, who must still undergo a kidney transplant to stand a chance of surviving to fulfil her destiny. And who else could foot the bills better and also provide that morale support for the daughter? It still remains Senator and Mrs Ekweremadu. It is certain that Sonia cannot survive the absence of her parents in her present health condition.”