The House of Representatives has resolved to take necessary measures to enable former deputy president of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Beatrice, who are being accused of organ trafficking in the United Kingdom, to get justice.
To this end, the House resolved to invite the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, acting Comptroller-general of the Nigerian Immigration Service, and director-general and chief executive officer of NIMC to brief the relevant committees of the House on all necessary actions taken regarding the matter.
the House also mandated the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Nigerian High Commission in the United Kingdom to “take all necessary steps possible to ensure that the couple are provided with all consular services as they may require in this critical time.”
The lawmakers, however, tasked government and relevant corporate bodies, “particularly the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Nigerian Immigration Service, and banks to act swiftly to respond to legitimate requests for information to facilitate the prompt resolution of the charges against them.”
Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, while commenting on the issue at the plenary in Tuesday, June 28, 2022,said he would “try” to meet his United Kingdom counterpart to ensure the Ekweremadus are given fair treatment.
Gbajabiamila made the remarks following the adoption of a motion on urgent public importance sponsored by Abdullahi Abdulkadir, a legislator from Bauchi State.
The former deputy president of the senate and his wife were recently arrested for allegedly bringing a minor to the UK for organ harvesting.
They were subsequently remanded in custody till July 7.
Gbajabiamila said the lower legislative chamber will use “diplomatic pressure” to ensure that “due process” in followed in the prosecution of the former senate president.
“I have spoken with the Nigerian high Commissioner (to the UK, Sharafa Ishola) who has been extremely proactive in this matter and I expressed the need for him to continue to avail senator Ekweremadu with all the necessary assistance that he will need to prove his case. I think this should be heightened as well to the UK parliament,” Gbajabiamila said.
“I would try and get in touch with the speaker of the parliament (UK) whom I was opportune to meet with and had fruitful discussions with just a couple of months ago. I believe honourable Buba Yusuf (chairman of the house committee on foreign affairs) should also get in touch with his foreign affairs counterpart in the UK parliament.
“We are not talking about anything but for the parliament in the UK to make sure that senator Ekweremadu gets the proper due process, that the rule of law is applied and that he is treated fairly on this matter. I believe the UK parliament or the congress of the United States, if their own was involved or if they have one of theirs, even a citizen, in this country that was going through the same travails, I believe that those parliaments would responsibly get involved as well. So, we must apply diplomatic pressure,” he added.
According to the speaker, Nigeria and the UK has “very strong diplomatic ties”, hence all the areas should be explored on the Ekweremadus matter.
Gbajabiamila said Nigerians should despite their diverse opinions, follow the dictates of the constitution that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty by a competent court.
“Facts are emerging and we have to wait to gather all the facts,” he said.
Abdulkadir had in his motion observed that fresh information emerging from the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) and other “legitimate sources” suggested that a different narrative which might not have been available to the metropolitan police at the time of arrest and arraignment of the Ekweremadu and his wife.
He said the UK authorities should work with its Nigerian counterpart to “conduct a holistic and thorough investigation to ascertain all the facts relating to the allegation in order to make a fair determination on the issues in the best interest of equity and justice for all concerned”.
Deputy minority leader of the House, Toby Okechukwu, in his contribution said the UK may have acted on information that is not truthful.