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Nigerian politician and wife charged with child organ-harvesting plot Ike Ekweremadu: Nigerian senator accused of organ-harvesting plot
(about 2 hours later)
Ike Ekweremadu has been charged Ike Ekweremadu has been a senator in Nigeria since 2003
A top Nigerian senator and his wife have been identified as the couple charged in London with a child organ-harvesting plot. A Nigerian senator has been charged with conspiring to transport a boy to the UK in order to harvest organs.
Ike Ekweremadu, 60, and Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu, 55, both Nigerian nationals, will appear at Uxbridge Magistrates' Court later. Ike Ekweremadu, 60, and his wife Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu, 55, appeared at Uxbridge Magistrates' Court in west London earlier on Thursday.
Mr Ekweremadu's spokesperson confirmed to BBC Igbo that the senator had been charged in the UK over the case. The 15-year-old alleged victim has been taken into care. The Met Police said agencies were working to support him.
A child of unknown age has been taken into care. The court heard that Mr Ekweremadu, who is both a politician and a barrister, was deputy president of the Senate.
The couple have been charged with conspiring to transport a child into the UK in order to harvest organs. 'Attorney General's consent required'
Mr Ekweremadu served three terms as Nigeria's deputy president of the Senate, from 2007 to 2019. The defendants, who are married, live in Nigeria but have family in London, magistrates were told. Both are accused of conspiracy to arrange and/or facilitate the travel of another person with a view to exploitation.
The lawyer and politician has been a senator since 2003 and belongs to the opposition People's Democratic Party (PDP). The pair were asked by the clerk for their address, to which they both replied: "Nigeria".
The investigation began when detectives were alerted to potential modern day slavery offences. The court heard the case required the Attorney General's consent to proceed because of jurisdiction issues.
Charges follow an inquiry by the Metropolitan Police's Specialist Crime Team. Prosecutor Damla Ayas told the court: "In respect of these offences the Attorney General's consent is required and the Crown require 14 days for that to be obtained."
Most of the alleged offence took place in the UK, the court heard. The Ekweremadus, who were arrested two days ago, have been remanded in custody to appear at the same court on 7 July.
Specialist crime team
Mr Ekweremadu, who was recently made a visiting professor at the University of Lincoln, served three terms as Nigeria's deputy president of the Senate, from 2007 to 2019.
A member of the opposition People's Democratic Party (PDP), he has been a senator since 2003.
An investigation by the Metropolitan Police's Specialist Crime Team took place after detectives were alerted to potential modern-day slavery offences.
Organ-harvesting involves removing parts of the body, often for commercial gain and against the will of the victim.
A University of Lincoln spokesman said: "Visiting professors are often, as is in this case, non-resident at the university, unpaid and advisory.
"We are deeply concerned about the nature of these allegations but as this is an active police investigation, we cannot comment further at this stage."
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