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Organ harvesting: Ex-Pres. Obasanjo writes UK govt, pleads for clemency for Ekweremadu, wife

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Nigeria’s former President Olusegun Obasanjo has risen to the occasion by writing to the United Kingdom government to temper justice with mercy in the conviction of Senator Ike Ekweremadu and his wife in London.

Obasanjo has asked for clemency for Ekweremadu and his wife already convicted for organ trafficking.

The duo had been convicted for organ trafficking by the Central Criminal Court, Old Baily, London and will be sentenced to prison in May.

But Obasanjo, in a letter addressed to the Clerk, The Central Criminal Court, Old Baily, London, dated 3 April, 2023, said he was very much aware of the current travails and conviction of 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.

He said he did realise the implications of their action and he dared say, it was unpleasant and condemnable and could not 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. Please accept the assurances of my highest consideration,” Obasanjo wrote.

Earlier, in the letter, Obasanjo introduced himself as a soldier commissioned into the British Army of the West African Frontier Force in 1958, and rose to the rank of a full General in the Nigerian Army, as well as becoming military Head of State from 1976 to 1979 and elected President from 1999 to 2007.

He also painted a good image of Ekweremadu as a good Nigerian who served his country with passion and currently a distinguished senator.

“It is with great pleasure that! write in respect of Senator Ike Ekweremadu who I have known for over two decades. Within this period, I have followed and watched, with keen interest, Ike Ekweremadu’s inspiring career which traversed private legal practice and public administration.

” I recall with fond memories the beginnings of our political and social relationship at the outset of our collective quest for democratic rebirth for our fatherland.

“During my administration as a democratically-elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria between 1999 and 2007, Ike Ekweremadu and I had close relationship and interactions as staunch members of our political party, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and more so as he got elected into the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2003, of which he has since remained a member till date.

“Within this period of his service in the Nigerian Parliament, he has served as Deputy Senate President of the Senate and has headed so many Committees in various capacities and brought to bear his broad-based experience in legal practice and public administration.

“Sometime in 2009, he was appointed as the First Deputy Speaker of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, and made to lead ad hoc Committee to work for the return of constitutional order in the Niger Republic.

“I clearly remember that in the heady days of the keen contest for the presidential ticket of our Party early 1999, he joined other well-meaning Nigerians from the South-Eastern part of Nigeria to set aside extraneous considerations and ensured that South East unanimously adopted me for the Presidency.

“This was without regard to the fact that my closest competitor hailed from their part of the country. I truly cherish his God-fearing, dispassionate, moderate and pan-Nigerian approach to national issues and developments, in our multi-ethnic, multi-religious geo-polity.

“He dedicates himself to the service of God and humanity and he continues to play visible roles in national development,” Obasanjo urged.

He added: “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.

“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 our country, Nigeria.”

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