Senator Ike Ekweremadu is a serving senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and an unprecedented three-term deputy senate president. He is a former speaker of ECOWAS parliament, a lawyer, scholar, astute politician, author, and a father. Ekweremadu and his wife Nwanneka battled privately to save the life of their daughter, Sonia, even as he continued to serve Nigeria. Like loving parents with the means, they embarked on medical tourism to perform a kidney transplant.
On Tuesday, June 21, 2022, an Uxbridge, UK magistrates’ court stirred a strange story. It started with a hysteria that the couple was trafficking harvested human organs! It was bizarre that anyone could bandy and believe such babble, as sadly as Nigerians are deemed abroad despite stellar successes. How could a couple with earned doctorate degrees descend to such a ‘pretty dirty’ low? The hogwash did not hold. It took a validated visa request to the British High Commission in Nigeria for the dedicated donor, David, to dismantle the fabrications being built into a court case.
The story changed two days later. The senator and wife were trafficking a minor! David was not a minor. The UK immigration had their passports. They chose to suspect one passport, another sharp slap on Nigeria, just to sustain a collapsing case. Then we read that Ekweremadus had a medical “accomplice”—someone helping them navigate the system lawfully. This senseless straw did not stick either.
They let pundits pander vague and preposterous proposals about crass coercion. UK officials in Abuja interviewed David. They knew why he was going to London, a trip he could not afford otherwise. One prosecutor said they had been following the matter from the beginning, possibly since Ekweremadu submitted the visa application for David and clearly stated the purpose. Yet, the Old Bailey (Central Criminal Court of England and Wales) makes up a pointless prosecution to cover an apparent entrapment and hostage situation.
These going guesses have kept Ike Ekweremadu unjustly in detention, long after someone saw sense and granted bail to his wife. Instead of coming to justice with clean hands, they display dirty hands. There must be other reasons for this trying travesty: rabid racism; payback for Ekweremadu allegedly opposing a bill Britain wanted passed; retaliation for the extraordinary rendition of Nnamdi Kanu, a British citizen; or a peculiar political persecution. Conspiracy theories? Maybe, but the shaky situation leaves large rooms for sundry speculations.
Senator Ekweremadu is a beloved brother, a distinguished denizen, and represents the Enugu State senatorial district of the minister for foreign affairs. Nigeria’s membership of the British Commonwealth for 62 years should count in such a high-profile matter. No one died. No blood was shed. Nothing was hidden from authorities. No known crime was committed. A village councilor from the remotest part of Europe would be spared this tacky treatment.
This strange and shameful saga, this game of inexplicable injustice, must end; it is hard to watch. Compare what Nigeria has done for Ike Ekweremadu with what was done in 2019 for Zainab Aliyu, a certain citizen caught with a suitcase of illegal drugs in Saudi Arabia and headed to beheading – if not for diplomatic intervention. I rest my case.
©M.O. ENE is based in New Jersey, USA
Ekweremadu and his fellow legislators ought to have built top notch hospitals in Nigeria to avoid Medical Tourism. But they are stone deaf, as long as they are basking on astronomical salaries and allowances while the average Nigerian starves to death. May be Ekweremadu’s ordeal will be a wake-up alarm bell for our politicians to do the right THING for once and stop using the backs of impoverished Nigerians as their Dining Tables. It is high time Nigerian politicians built amenities in Nigeria for every citizen whether rich or poor. Enough said!!!