Alleged Organ Harvesting: Rights Activist Frowns at Continued Detention of Ekweremadu

An Abuja-based legal practitioner and Rights Activist, Kayode Ajulo has frowned at the continued detention of Nigerian former Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, insisting that the offences he was accused of were bailable.

Ajulo, who was at the Central Criminal Court popularly known as Old Bailey, in solidarity with Ekweremadu and his wife Beatrice, who are standing trial for alleged conspiracy to traffick one David Nwamini Ukpo, so that his organ could be removed and given to their daughter, who has kidney failure, vented his displeasure in a chat with both local and international journalists via zoom.

He said his presence at Old Bailey was to represent some interests and to see for himself if the fundamental rights of the Nigerian lawmaker and that of his wife have not been violated, as the case was of interest to many Nigerians, Africans, and some rights organisations.

The constitutional lawyer added that the ugly precedents of bail jumping set by former Bayelsa State Governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha and former Plateau State Governor, Joshua Dariye, shouldn’t be used as reasons to deny Ekweremadu bail.

He noted that Ekweremadu’s wife was already enjoying bail and had also been appearing in Court without any record of legal infraction that could raise suspicion.

Ajulo said the regard accorded Beatrice Ekweremadu should equally be extended to Ike Ekweremadu, pointing out that he remained a respected Nigerian politician with high moral rectitude and that he is a lawyer with integrity, known for his sheer advocacy in the defense and promotion of rule of law, hinting that such individual cannot jump bail.

“This case has generated humongous interest. Don’t forget that Nigerian government as a sovereign state is interested, the National Assembly is interested,  the likes of Senator Adamu Bulkachuwa, Senator James Manager, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, the Minority Leader of Nigeria's House of Representatives, ranking member and others flew in from Nigeria for the matter.

"Emeka Etiaba, SAN and other senior members of the Bar were there.

"Don’t also forget that Senator Ekeremadu is a complete Bar man. Some years back, we were co-panelist at a session of the Annual General Conference of the NBA and as a PhD holder in law and researcher we have exchanged many ideas on the promotion of law and development of our body of law.

“I was emotionally troubled when I saw Nigeria’s ranking Senator and a three-time Deputy Senate President appearing at Court via videolink from HMP Wandsworth. He couldn’t make physical presence at the Court. His wife is on bail and was placed in the Old Bailey dock too. 

Unfortunately, the trial of this case will not commence until May 2, 2023, while further hearing in the matter has been scheduled for October 31.

"So there is no basis for keeping the man in custody in perpetuity and denying him freedom” Ajulo stated.

“The unfair precedents of bail jumping set by former Bayelsa State Governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha and former Plateau State Governor, Joshua Dariye shouldn’t be used as reasons why Ekweremadu shouldn’t be granted bail. 

"Here is a man, who is consistent in defending and promoting rule of law. He isn’t just a lawyer, but he has Phd in Law. So, the likelihood of him jumping bail as a parliamentarian cannot arise.

“Denying Ekweremadu bail will amount to violation of his fundamental rights and this also negates the principles the United Kingdom stands for, which is justice, fairness, rule of law and equality.

"But unfortunately, having appeared in Old Bailey to see for myself if the fundamental rights of Ekweremadu and that of wife have not been violated, with what I saw, I pray that Judge Richard Marks QC will be firm and fair going forward.”

“United Kingdom has no constitution, but the system subscribes to human right. This is the home of rule of law, writ of rights, habeas corpus, and the United Kingdom is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which is an international document adopted by the United Nations General Assembly that enshrines the rights and freedoms of all human beings" the senior lawyer and rights activist concluded.

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