House of Reps Vows To Ensure Justice For Ekweremadu And His Wife
The UK may have taken action based on incorrect information, according to the deputy minority leader of the House.
By Omotayo Olutekunbi
Ike Ekweremadu, a former vice president of the Senate, and his wife Beatrice are facing charges in the UK for allegedly trafficking organs, and the House of Representatives has decided to take the appropriate action to help them.
In order to accomplish this, the House decided to invite Geoffrey Onyeama, the minister of foreign affairs, the acting comptroller general of the Nigerian Immigration Service, and the director-general and chief executive officer of NIMC to brief the relevant House committees on all necessary steps taken in relation to the situation.
The Nigerian High Commission in the UK and the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs were also given instructions by the House, to take all necessary steps possible to ensure that the couple is provided with all consular services as they may require in this critical time.”
However, the lawmakers gave the appropriate business entities and the government tasks, “particularly the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Nigerian Immigration Service, and banks to act swiftly to respond to legitimate requests for information to facilitate the prompt resolution of the charges against them.”
Speaking on the subject at Tuesday’s plenary, Speaker of the House Femi Gbajabiamila said he will “try” to speak with his counterpart from the United Kingdom to guarantee the Ekweremadu family receives fair treatment.
Gbajabiamila made the comments after the Bauchi State legislator Abdullahi Abdulkadir’s motion on an urgent matter of public interest was approved.
The ex-senate vice president and his wife were recently detained on suspicion of transporting a juvenile to the UK for organ harvesting.
After then, they were kept in jail until July 7.
Using “diplomatic pressure,” according to Gbajabiamila, the lower house of Congress would make sure that “due process” is followed in the prosecution of the former senate president.
“I have spoken with the Nigerian High Commissioner (to the UK, Sharafa Ishola) who has been extremely proactive in this matter and I expressed the need for him to continue to avail senator Ekweremadu with all the necessary assistance that he will need to prove his case. I think this should be heightened as well to the UK parliament,” Gbajabiamila said.
“I would try and get in touch with the speaker of the parliament (UK) whom I was opportune to meet with and had fruitful discussions with just a couple of months ago. I believe honorable Buba Yusuf (chairman of the house committee on foreign affairs) should also get in touch with his foreign affairs counterpart in the UK parliament.
“We are not talking about anything but for the parliament in the UK to make sure that senator Ekweremadu gets the proper due process, that the rule of law is applied and that he is treated fairly on this matter. I believe the UK parliament or the congress of the United States, if their own was involved or if they have one of theirs, even a citizen, in this country that was going through the same travails, I believe that those parliaments would responsibly get involved as well. So, we must apply diplomatic pressure,” he added.
The speaker said that because of the “extremely strong diplomatic relations” between Nigeria and the UK, all options should be investigated in relation to the Ekweremadu case.
Nigerians, according to Gbajabiamila, should uphold the constitution’s stipulation that a person is deemed innocent until and until proven guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction, notwithstanding their differing beliefs.
“Facts are emerging and we have to wait to gather all the facts,” he said.
Abdulkadir had noted in his motion that new information coming from the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) and other “legitimate sources” suggested that a different narrative may have been available at the time of the arrest and arraignment of Ekweremadu and his wife but may not have been known to the Metropolitan Police.
He suggested that the UK authorities collaborate with their Nigerian counterparts, and “conduct a holistic and thorough investigation to ascertain all the facts relating to the allegation in order to make a fair determination on the issues in the best interest of equity and justice for all concerned”.
Toby Okechukwu, the Deputy Minority Leader of the House, stated in his presentation that the UK may have acted on false intelligence.
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