Compassionate donation of organs not rare in Nigeria, Ekweremadu tells UK court

NIGERIAN politician Ike Ekweremadu, accused of facilitating the travel of a 21-year-old street trader to the United Kingdom (UK) in order to harvest his kidney, has told the court why he did not try to get a donor from among his family members.

Prosecutor Hugh Davies KC had accused the Senator during hearing on Monday of not first approaching family members to donate a kidney for his ailing daughter Sonia, because he wanted the “medical risk” to go to someone he did not know.


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They also claimed that the victim was offered up to £7,000 (about N3.8million) and the promise of a better life if he made the journey to London, posing as Sonia’s cousin to obtain a visa for the UK.

It is also believed that he was falsely presented as Sonia’s cousin in a failed bid to persuade medics at the Royal Free Hospital in London to carry out the £80,000 (about N44million) private procedure.

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The court was told Ekweremadu allegedly transferred £1,802.87 (around N1million) to Obeta on September 24 2021 in a bid to find an organ donor, even though the Nigerian politician denied offering money for the kidney and insisted it was to be donated on compassionate grounds.

His lawyer Martin Hicks, according to Daily Mail, told the court that they believed the donor was acting “altruistically” since in the Nigerian tradition, every one is their brother’s keeper and the altruistic donation of an organ was not rare.

“Be alive please to the possible cultural differences between this country and that of Nigeria, particularly to altruistic donation.

“In Nigerian society, there is an expression ‘everyone is each other’s keeper’ and the altruistic donation of organs is not regarded there as such a rare event as it is in this country,” Hicks said.

During cross-examination, the politician said he believed getting a donor from among his relatives was not an option after being advised by his medically trained brother and his doctor Obinna Obeta, who is also in custody.

Prosecutor Davies responded: “You decided that was not possible based on a reported conversation between your non-nephrologist brother and Dr Obeta, a non-nephrologist?”




     

     

    “He would have had basic knowledge. I’m not a doctor so if he says so, I believe him,” Ekweremadu replied.

    Davis said pointblank: “What you are saying is you had no intention of anyone in your family – immediate or extended – stepping up to donate a kidney to Sonia.

    “Far better to buy one and let the medical risk go to someone you don’t know.”

    Ekweremadu’s wife Beatrice and daughter Sonia, are also on trial at the Old Bailey over allegation to exploit a young man by harvesting his kidney. The trial continues.

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