Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has asked a UK court to “temper justice with mercy” on Ike Ekweremadu and Beatrice, his wife.
In June 2022, Ekweremadu, a former deputy senate president, and his wife were arrested and charged in court for allegedly bringing a child to the UK for organ harvesting.
The senator was remanded in custody since then, but his wife was granted bail on July 22.
In March 2023, Ekweremadu was found guilty of organ trafficking by a court.
His wife and Obinna Obeta, a doctor involved in the case, were also found guilty.
The jury found that they conspired to bring the 21-year-old at the centre of the matter to London to exploit him for his kidney.
However, their daughter, Sonia, was cleared of the charges.
In a letter dated April 3, 2023, and addressed to the chief clerk of central criminal court, Old Bailey, Obasanjo said though Ekweremadu’s action is “unpleasant and condemnable and can’t be tolerated in any sane or civilised society”, the court should temper justice with mercy for the sake of their sick daughter.
“Through the Ikeoha 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,” the letter reads.
“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 for the very warm relations between the United Kingdom and the 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 to take their good character and parental instinct and care into consideration.”
Obasanjo said Ekweremadu and his wife 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”.