Former deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, has denied offering money to secure a donor’s kidney in order to save his sick daughter, Sonia.
Ekweremadu’s wife Beatrice and their 25-year-old daughter are on trial in London for allegedly trafficking a young man from Nigeria to serve as kidney donor.
The Ekweremadus were alleged to have offered £7,000 to the 21-year-old trader whom they flew to London and falsely presented as Sonia’s cousin so as to obtain his kidney.
According to Daily Mail, in his opening addresses at the Old Bailey on Wednesday, lawyers for the defendant, Martin Hicks, insisted they believed the donor was acting “altruistically”.
Hicks told jurors,
“Be alive please to the possible cultural differences between this country and that of Nigeria, particularly to altruistic donation.
“We say the issue in this case is simple – did there exist an agreement to exploit (the donor) in the way the prosecution allege and if so, who was a party to it?
“In Nigerian society, there is an expression ‘everyone is each other’s keeper’ and the altruistic donation of organs is not regarded there as such a rare event as it is in this country.
“He will also say he was told (the donor) had offered to altruistically donate a kidney to Sonia.”
Hicks said Ekweremadu did not attend any visits to the Royal Free Hospital in February and March last year, which concluded that the donor was unsuitable.
“In April 2022 and with the assistance of Diwe, he continued the family search for a suitable donor for his daughter Sonia and that search continues.
“We question whether (the donor) was exploited as suggested by the prosecution.”
Speaking on behalf of Sonia, her lawyer, John Femi-Ola, said, “She suffers from a very severe kidney disease. She receives dialysis treatment three days per week.”
Each session is for four hours.
“The treatment is for the rest of her life unless there is a transplant in the future which now must be much in doubt given the publicity this case has attracted.”