A Nigerian street trader at the centre of an alleged organ-harvesting plot involving former Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu has told judges he thought he was going to Britain to work.
The young man was allegedly brought to the UK to donate a kidney to the sick daughter of the former Deputy Senate President in exchange for a cash reward.
According to the Irish News, the young man, giving evidence at the Old Bailey on Monday, revealed he did not even know why he was being taken to see a doctor.
He disclosed he was being “controlled” and told to lie about having a family connection with the Ekweremadus before a consultation at the Royal Free Hospital.
In the end, a doctor at the north London hospital concluded he was unsuitable as a donor for 25-year-old Sonia Ekweremadu, the Old Bailey has heard.
Ekweremadu, 60; his wife Beatrice, 56; Sonia, 25, and medical “middleman” Obinna Obeta, 50, are charged with conspiring to arrange or facilitate the travel of the young man to Britain with a view to his exploitation.
The young man, aged 21 as of the time of the incident, said he thought he was coming to Britain to work.
He also told the court how he was born and bred in a village in Nigeria, the oldest of nine children to his carpenter father and mother.
He went to a village school until the age of 15 when he left because his parents needed money, the court heard.
His uncle took him to live with him in Lagos and gave him work selling phone accessories, he said.
After four years, he started his own business selling phone accessories from a wheelbarrow in the market earning N3,000 or N4,000 a day.
Prosecutor Hugh Davies KC asked how he came to fly to London from Lagos.
The witness, who gave evidence by video link with the assistance of an interpreter, said, “Obinna (Obeta) is the man who brought me here to this country.
“He asked me what am I doing and I told him I’m doing business selling phone accessory in Lagos and he start talking about coming to London.
“He going to take me to London, stay at his house, and I will work.”
The court heard how he travelled to the Nigerian capital Abuja for tests and was taken to have passport pictures taken.
He told judges that the first time he saw his passport was when he went for a visa interview and he did not see it again until the day he travelled to the UK.
Mr Davies asked, “What did you think you were going to do when you came to London?”
He replied, “To work, any type of work that I would get paid.”
He said he thought Dr Obeta was helping him because he was “from God.”
After travelling to the UK, the man was pictured sharing a meal with Sonia Ekweremadu and smiling into the camera.
He disclosed that during the course of the meal, those present “only discuss for themselves” and did not ask him any questions
Later that week, the victim disclosed that he was taken by Dr Obeta for his consultation at the Royal Free Hospital.
He told judges he thought it was for a test before he could start work.
Before going inside, they allegedly met Sonia Ekweremadu, a tall Nigerian man who had escorted him on the plane and another woman.
He told judges, “They used to discuss by themselves. Obinna would just tell me where to stay. Like they were controlling me.
“They said I am going to see the doctor. The doctor is going to ask me question and they will give me the answer.”
He was allegedly told to lie that he had been to a “higher institution” school and that he and Sonia Ekweremadu were cousins.
He went on, “Obinna told me that if the doctor asks me if they give me money, if they pay me for what I want to do, I should tell the doctor they no pay me.
“He give me many answer to give the doctor but everything was not true.”
As he entered the hospital, an interpreter told him that what he was doing was “not a small thing,” the court heard.
But the witness said, “I don’t understand the woman when she said what they brought me to do was not a small thing because I did not know why they bring me to the hospital.”
The Ekweremadus, who have an address in Willesden Green, north west London, and Dr Obeta, from Southwark, south London, deny the charge against them and the Old Bailey trial continues.