Ekweremadu: Court Orders Immigration, NIMC, Others to Release Bio-data of ‘Organ Donor’
Alex Enumah in Abuja
Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday ordered the Nigerian Immigration Service, National Identity Management Commission, United Bank of Africa (UBA), and Stanbic IBTC to release a Certified True Copy (CTC) of the biodata information of David Nwamini Ukpo.
The order was sequel to an application by Senator Ike Ekweremadu and his wife to enable them defend themselves in an alleged modern slavery and organ harvesting charge leveled against them at a Magistrate Court in the United Kingdom.
The Metropolitan Police had last week arrested Ekweremadu and his wife Beatrice for allegedly trafficking a minor to the UK for exploitation and organ harvesting, an offence punishable by prison terms in the UK.
But, Ekweremadu and his wife had denied any wrongdoing, claiming that contrary to the position of the UK police, the said donor, is not a minor and was neither tricked nor induced to donate his organ for the ailing daughter of Ekweremadu, who is currently in a London hospital.
Ekweremadu and his wife accordingly approached a Federal High Court for an order compelling NIMC, Nigeria Immigration Service, UBA, Stanbic IBTC Bank, and the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc., to release a Certified True Copy of the bio-data information of Ukpo to the defendants to aid their defense in the London Court.
In an originating summon marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/984/2022, dated and filed June 27 by their counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, the couple said the information were for the purposes of facilitating the criminal investigation and tendering same to establish their innocence with respect to Ukpo’s age in the charges against them.
Awomolo had told the court that the respondents would not respond to their request on the bio-data of Ukpo unless directed by the court.
However, the applicants had asked the court to strike out the name of the 5th respondent (Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc) due to their inability to serve the 5th defendant with the motion.
In a short ruling, Justice Ekwo held that evidence showed that the respondents have been served with the applicants’ motion and since they did not dispute the facts of the motion, the application is granted in terms.
The Metropolitan Police, in a statement last week said, “A woman and a man were charged today with conspiring to arrange the travel of a child into the UK in order to harvest organs.”
However, upon their arraignment last week, the London Court had denied them bail on grounds that they are high profile persons and therefore flight risk.
The judge subsequently ordered their remand pending the commencement of trial on July 7.
However, following interventions for the case to be given accelerated hearing, they were on Thursday brought to court where the judge denied them bail on the grounds that no bail application was before the court.
The judge also revealed that the case on the next adjourned date would be heard by a Westminster Magistrate Court because the UK Attorney General, Suella Braverman, would have to take a decision on whether to continue the trial in the UK or transfer it to Nigeria, where the alleged crime originated.
Recall that prosecutors had claimed that David Ukpo, who alleged that he was coerced to the UK to donate his kidney to the Senator’s daughter, is 15 years old.