Thursday, September 29, 2022

Organ Harvest: Ekweremadus ask court to dismiss alleged victim’s plea

The Ekweremadus are facing criminal trials in the UK.

• September 13, 2022
Ike Ekweremadu and Nwanneka Ekeremadu
Ike Ekweremadu and Nwanneka Ekeremadu

Ex-Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice, have prayed the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court to dismiss an application filed by their alleged victim, David Ukpo, asking the court to set aside its orders made on July 1 and July 6.

Mr Ukpo, through his lawyer, Bamidele Igbinedion, had filed a motion on notice, urging Justice Inyang Ekwo to set aside the orders, directing some government agencies and banks to release his biodata to Mr Ekweremadu and his wife.

Mr Ukpo, currently in the UK in connection with the alleged organ harvesting charge against the Ekweremadus, said granting the couple’s request violated his fundamental rights to privacy guaranteed by section 37 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

But in a counter-affidavit deposed by Bright Ekweremadu, the politician’s younger brother, the applicants said Mr Ukpo was not entitled to the reliefs sought.

The counter affidavit, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/984/2022, was dated and filed on Thursday by their counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo.

In a 20-point argument, Mr Ekweremadu averred that though the court gave its ruling on July 1, Mr Ukpo’s right to a fair hearing was not breached.

He said the documents that the agencies and banks released upon the court’s orders were transmitted to the UK, and the same had been tendered at the Uxbridge Magistrate Court and the Central Criminal Court in the UK and “have subsequently formed part of the record of the courts.”

“That I know as a fact that the documents which are already in evidence before those honourable courts in the United Kingdom cannot be retrieved by this honourable court,” added the counter-affidavit. “That the courts in the United Kingdom are already seised of the documents” and that he was in the last criminal proceeding where the documents were used.”

He said the documents were required to prove the actual age of Mr Ukpo, who claimed to be 15 years but believed to be well over 21. According to him, if the applicant (Mr Ukpo) had not lied about his age, he would have nothing to fear, and the document would hear him out.

Upon hearing in the matter, Ojonugwa Oguche, Mr Ukpo’s lawyer, informed that he was served with a counter-affidavit by the Ekweremadus earlier in the morning and would need to reply on points of law.

The respondents’ counsel, including the Ekweremadus’, Eyitayo Falogun, did not oppose the request. 

Justice Ekwo adjourned the matter until September 20 for a hearing at the instance of Mr Ukpo’s lawyer.

The judge then ordered all parties to file and exchange their processes before the next adjourned date.

On June 27, Mr Ekweremadu, representing Enugu West senatorial district, and his wife had, in an application dated and filed on June 27 by Awomolo, sued the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and four others following the criminal charge filed against them in the UK.

The Comptroller General (C-G), Nigeria Immigration Service, Stanbic-IBTC Bank, United Bank of Africa, and Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc were second to fifth respondents, respectively. But the fifth respondent was later dropped from the charge.

They had sought the order of the court directing all the respondents to release certified copies of Ukpo’s biodata information in their care to enable them to present the documents before the UK court, and the judge granted the request on July 1.

UK authorities had arrested Mr Ekweremadu and his wife, alleging that they trafficked MrUkpo to harvest his organ for their ailing child, Sonia, who was allegedly suffering from kidney failure.


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