In a letter, former President Olusegun Obasanjo has pleaded with the Old Bailey Court in London to temper justice with mercy over the case of organ harvesting involving the former deputy speaker of Nigeria’s senate, Ike Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice.
The couple were recently convicted of trafficking a 21-year-old Nigerian to the UK and attempting to harvest his kidney to save their daughter, Sonia, who suffers from kidney failure and needs a transplant.
Obasanjo’s letter, said to have been leaked, was titled ‘Re: Ike Ekweremaduwas’, dated April 3, 2023, and addressed to the court’s chief clerk.
In the letter, Obasanjo condemned the actions of the Enugu West lawmaker, describing it as unacceptable.
“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,” Obasanjo’s letter read in part.
“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 civilised society.”
However, he said that Ekweremadu had contributed his quota to Nigeria’s socio-political development. Thus his punishment should be meted out with mercy based on his records of good deeds and the plight of his ailing daughter.
“It is my fervent desire that, for the very warm relations between the United Kingdom and the 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 to take their good character and parental instinct and care into consideration,” he wrote.
Ekweremadu and his wife were arrested in the UK while attempting to harvest the boy’s kidney at the Royal Free Hospital in London.
Obasanjo concluded his letter with the words: “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 society in particular and the nation in general.”