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‘Organ harvesting’: Denying Ekweremadu bail amounts to rights violation, says Kayode Ajulo

‘Organ harvesting’: Denying Ekweremadu bail amounts to rights violation, says Kayode Ajulo
August 08
18:14 2022

Kayode Ajulo, a human rights lawyer, says not granting bail to Ike Ekweremadu, former deputy president of the senate, by the Central Criminal Court in the UK, amounts to a violation of his human rights.

The former deputy senate president and Beatrice, his wife, are facing charges bordering on conspiracy to arrange/facilitate the travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting.

The couple was arrested by the London Metropolitan Police in June and appeared before a magistrate court in July.

Ekweremadu’s wife was granted bail on July 22, while the lawmaker’s application was denied.

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At the last court sitting on August 4, the Central Criminal Court in the UK adjourned the case to hear pre-trial applications on October 31, while the trial will commence fully on May 2, 2023.

Speaking at a virtual meeting with journalists on Monday, the human rights lawyer said the charges preferred against Ekweremadu are bailable offences.

Ajulo, who had been present at the court in Old Bailey in solidarity with the couple, said the “unfortunate precedents” of jumping bail set by Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, former Bayelsa governor, and Joshua Dariye, former Plateau governor, should not be used as a yardstick to deny Ekweremadu bail.

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“This case has generated humongous interest. Don’t forget that the Nigerian government as a sovereign state is interested, the national assembly is interested, and the likes of senator Adamu Bulkachuwa, senator James Manager, honourable Ndudi Elumelu, minority leader of Nigeria’s house of representatives and ranking member, and others flew in from Nigeria for the matter,” he said.

“Emeka Etiaba, senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), and other senior members of the bar were there. Don’t also forget that senator Ekweremadu is a complete man of the bar. Some years back, we were co-panellists at a session of the annual general conference of the NBA, and as a PhD holder in law and researcher, we have exchanged many ideas on the promotion of law and development of our body of law.

“I was emotionally troubled when I saw Nigeria’s ranking senator and a three-time deputy senate president appearing at court via video link from HMP Wandsworth. He couldn’t make a physical presence at the court. His wife is on bail and was placed in the Old Bailey dock too.

“So, there is no basis for keeping the man in custody in perpetuity and denying him freedom.

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“The unfair precedents of bail jumping set by former Bayelsa state governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, and former Plateau governor, Joshua Dariye, shouldn’t be used as reasons why Ekweremadu shouldn’t be granted bail.

“Here is a man, who is consistent in defending and promoting rule of law. He isn’t just a lawyer, but he has PhD in Law. So, the likelihood of him jumping bail as a parliamentarian cannot arise.

“Denying Ekweremadu bail will amount to a violation of his fundamental rights and this also negates the principles the United Kingdom stands for, which are justice, fairness, rule of law and equality.”

Ajulo urged the court to reconsider its stance on bail for Ekweremadu so as not to be in violation of the lawmaker’s rights.

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“Having appeared in Old Bailey to see for myself if the fundamental rights of Ekweremadu and that of his wife have not been violated, with what I saw, I pray that judge Richard Marks QC will be firm and fair going forward,” he said.

“The United Kingdom has no constitution, but the system subscribes to human rights. This is the home of rule of law, writ of rights, habeas corpus, and the United Kingdom is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which is an international document adopted by the United Nations General Assembly that enshrines the rights and freedoms of all human beings.”

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This story is published in partnership with Report for the World, a global service program that supports local public interest journalism.

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