Alleged Organ Harvesting: Ohanaeze Tells FG Not To Abandon Ekweremadu
The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has faulted the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, on the position of the Federal Government in the detention and trial of Senator Ike Ekweremadu for alleged organ harvest in the United Kingdom.
Malami had on Thursday while briefing journalists said that “the Federal Government of Nigeria will not interfere with any local or international legal battle involving the former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who is currently facing trial for alleged organ harvest in the United Kingdom.”
The AGF further claimed that “it has never been the tradition of the Nigerian government to interfere in anything judicial, local or international.”
The organisation, in a statement titled, “Ekweremadu: Ohanaeze disagrees with Malami, calls for FG’s intervention,” issued on Sunday by its spokesman, Dr Alex Ogbonnia, faulted the AGF’s claim, reminding him how Nigeria in late 2018 and 2019, brought her full diplomatic weight to bear in securing the release of Zainab Kila, a Nigerian lady, after 124 days in Saudi Arabia prison over alleged drug trafficking.
It also cited cases involving UK nationals in foreign countries, noting that the British Government intervened in favour of an ex-British serviceman, Captain Simon Mann, and the son of the late Prime Minister of Britain, Sir Mark Thatcher, who both faced charges in Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Equatorial Guinea over a planned 2004 coup in the Central African country.
The apex Igbo body noted that during Kila’s case, the then Senior Special Assistant to the President on Diaspora Affairs, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, had stated that the President had directed the AGF and other key government agencies to intervene which eventually saw to her release.
While noting that there is nothing beyond diplomatic redemption once there is a political will, Ohanaeze said, “We believe that Ekweremadu’s case should not be different, especially when Nigeria enjoys longstanding cordial relations with the UK, and all the individuals involved in the UK case are Nigerian nationals.”
The Igbo apex body said it was curious that the AGF is making reference to Nigeria “Child Rights Act” more than a month after the UK Court ruled that the “donor” is not a child.
It added, “One would expect Nigeria to feel scandalised by the initial contempt by the British authorities in discountenancing an official document of Nigeria on the ‘donor’s’ age in the first place and feel disrespected by the continued refusal to grant Ekweremadu bail for a clearly bailable offence.
“We reckon that Nigeria could never give the same treatment to a British parliamentarian of Ekweremadu’s pedigree.
“Ohanaeze believes that Ike Ekweremadu has served Nigeria meritoriously in various capacities while in the Senate as the Deputy President of the Senate; and the Speaker of the Economic Community of West Africa States, among others, and was decorated with the service honour of the Commander of the Federal Republic.
“The Nigerian government and indeed all Nigerians should know that a measured indignity to Ike Ekweremadu, an illustrious Igbo and a serving senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a sad denouement to Nigeria and indeed the entire Africa.
“We urge the Federal Government of Nigeria led by President Muhammadu Buhari and Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, the Minister of Foreign Affairs; Nigeria High Commission in the UK, the Senate and House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to burnish their diplomatic channels in ensuring that Ekweremadu and his wife get the desired assistance by transferring the case to Nigeria.”