Ike Ekweremadu, a former vice president of the Senate, has denied paying David Nwamini Ukpo, a potential kidney donor, to help his ailing daughter Sonia.
According to The Site News, Ekweremade argued that the kidney donor had voluntarily offered to aid Sonia in his opening statements at the Old Bailey on Wednesday through his attorney, Martin Hicks.
Recalls that Ekweremadu and his wife were arrested in June 2022 at Heathrow Airport in London and were immediately arraigned before a Magistrate’s Court for allegedly bringing David into the country to allegedly harvest his organs.
He has been in the custody of the UK authorities since June 23 while his wife was granted bail by a criminal court in London.
The Ekweremadus were alleged to have offered £7,000 to the 21-year-old boy whom they flew to London and falsely presented as Sonia’s cousin so as to obtain his kidney.
Hicks at the UK court said it was a benevolent donation and questioned if there was an agreement to exploit David as levelled against the defendant.
The lawyer stated that Ekweremadu in April 2022 continued to search for a suitable donor as he did not attend any visits to the Royal Free Hospital, which concluded that Davido was unsuitable.
Hicks said: “Be alive please to the possible cultural differences between this country and that of Nigeria, particularly to altruistic donation.
“We say the issue in this case is simple – did there exist an agreement to exploit (the donor) in the way the prosecution allege and if so, who was a party to it?
“In Nigerian society, there is an expression ‘everyone is each other’s keeper’ and the altruistic donation of organs is not regarded there as such a rare event as it is in this country.
“He will also say he was told (the donor) had offered to altruistically donate a kidney to Sonia.
“In April 2022 and with the assistance of Diwe, he continued the family search for a suitable donor for his daughter Sonia and that search continues.
“We question whether (the donor) was exploited as suggested by the prosecution.”
Speaking on behalf of Sonia, her lawyer, John Femi-Ola, said, that Ekweremmadu’s daughter is battling serious kidney disease and receives dialysis treatment for three days per week.
He noted that the dialysis would continue for the rest of her life until she gets a suitable kidney donor.
In his word: “She suffers from a very severe kidney disease. She receives dialysis treatment three days per week.”
“Each session is for four hours. The treatment is for the rest of her life unless there is a transplant in the future which now must be much in doubt given the publicity this case has attracted.”