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Ekweremadu makes second appearance in UK court, remanded in custody

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UXBRIDGE Magistrates’ Court in the United Kingdom (UK) on Thursday adjourned the trial of a former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who is charged for alleged offenses bordering on organ harvesting.

Thursday’s hearing is Ekweremadu’s second appearance before the court over the organ harvesting case.

Ekweremadu is charged with conspiracy to facilitate the travel of another person for exploitation under the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

Ekweremadu’s wife Beatrice, who is  faced with the same charges, will appear in court at a later date due to a delay in her transport from prison.

Following the adjournment, the embattled lawmaker will remain in custody until his next court date on July 7, 2022.

It is Ekweremadu’s second appearance in the London court. He wore a grey tracksuit and held a Bible, according to a BBC report.

At the hearing, a bail application for Ekweremadu was not filed, which means he will stay in custody until his next appearance at Westminster Magistrates’ court on July 7.

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For a crime partly committed outside of the United Kingdom, the consent of the attorney general is required for the case to proceed.

On Wednesday, Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, said the Nigerian High Commission in the UK has engaged the services of lawyers to defend Ekweremadu and his wife.

Lawan said a delegation from the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs will depart Nigeria for London on July 1, 2022, to pay a visit to the embattled couple.

He said the Senate’s decision to intervene in the case followed a briefing received from the Nigerian High Commissioner to London.

“The High Commission has also been able to provide some consular services that include the engagement of some lawyers who will defend our colleague.

“We have also mandated our committee on foreign affairs to engage with the British High Commission here in Nigeria, to find more details on this case, as as far as the High Commission is involved.

“I want to urge all Federal Government institutions that can do anything to ensure that justice prevails in this case, that they do so,”he said.

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The Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) has denied reports that the prospective organ donor, David Ukpo, is underage.

The Comptroller General of the NIS, Idris Jerre, said the victim’s birth certificate and National Identity Number, which were presented during registration for his passport, showed that he was 21 years old.

However, the UK Metropolitan Police, which arrested the Ekweremadus still maintains the victim is 15.

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Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.

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