Former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has written an letter to the Central Criminal Court in London, United Kingdom over the conviction of a former Nigerian Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Beatrice Ekweremadu.
The letter, dated April 3, 2023, comes ahead of the sentencing of the Ekweremadus and their Doctor on May 5, 2023.
The Old Bailey Court had found the Ekweremadus guilty for facilitating the travel of a young man from Lagos to the UK with a view to exploiting harvesting his kidney.
They allegedly offered up to N3.5 million to obtain the body part for their sick daughter, Sonia.
Obasanjo, in his letter, urged the clerk of the London Central Criminal Court to use his “good offices” to appeal for leniency in the sentence of the trio on compassionate grounds.
He described Ekweremadu and his wife as “God-fearing” Nigerians who have used their position in society to better humanity and continue to play visible roles in national development.
Obasanjo’s letter reads in part: “Through the lkeoha Foundation, a non-governmental organization founded by him and his wife, in 1997, he and his wife have rendered a lot of charitable activities, enhancing poor people’s access to quality education and healthcare and building their capacity to participate in mainstream social, political and economic activities of their communities. Ike Ekweremadu’s conferment with the coveted national honour of Commander of the Federal Republic, CFR, is further testimony to his selfless service to our country, Nigeria.
“Mr. Chief Clerk, I am very much aware of the current travails and conviction of Ike Ekweremadu and his wife in the United Kingdom resulting from their being charged with conspiring to arrange the travel of a 21-year-old from Nigeria to the UK in order to harvest organs for their daughter.
“I do realise the implications of their action and I dare say, it is unpleasant and condemnable and can’t be tolerated in any sane or civilized society.
“However, it is my fervent desire that for the very warm relations between the United Kingdom and Federal Republic of Nigeria; for his position as one of the distinguished Senators in the Nigerian Parliament, and also for the sake of their daughter in question whose current health condition is in danger and requires an urgent medical attention, you will use your good offices to intervene and appeal to the court and the government of the United Kingdom to be magnanimous enough to temper justice with mercy and let punishment that may have to come take their good character and parental instinct and care into consideration.
“I do hope Mr. and Mrs. Ekweremadu have learnt from this distressing experience of theirs to guide their future actions or inactions so they will continue to be outstanding members of their community and will continue to contribute fully to the good of the society in particular and the nation in general.”