A Lagos-based Nigerian trader allegedly trafficked to the United Kingdom by former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, told a British court he pleaded with police officers in the UK for his life to be saved.
In a videotaped interview, the alleged victim also told police he was treated like a ‘slave’ at the house in London where he was staying, Authentic reports.
The 21-year-old is alleged to have been the victim of a plot to harvest his kidney and had been sleeping rough for three nights before turning up at Staines Police Station begging for help.
Body-worn footage shown in the Old Bailey on Tuesday showed the man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, crying as he tells a receptionist he has ‘no papers’.
Jurors were also shown a photograph of the man smiling and sharing a meal with the alleged prospective recipient, Sonia Ekweremadu, the 25-year-old daughter of Ekweremadu.
Ekweremadu, 60, his wife Beatrice, 56, daughter Sonia and medical ‘middleman’ Obinna Obeta, 50, stand accused of conspiring to arrange or facilitate the travel of the young man to Britain with a view to his exploitation.
It is claimed that he was coached before meeting doctors in London and told to say that he was Ms Ekerewadu’s cousin when they were in fact not related.
The Old Bailey has heard that the proposed donor, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, ran away after doctors decided he was not a suitable candidate.
The man told the police officers: ‘He carried me to hospital to remove my kidneys. The doctor said I was too young but the man said if you do not do it here he would carry me back to Nigeria and do it there.’
On being told he was in Staines, he said: ‘I don’t know anywhere, I don’t know where I am. I was sleeping three days outside around, looking for someone to help me, save my life.’
Previously, the court heard that he came from a village in Nigeria and was allegedly recruited by Dr Obinna Obeta while selling phone accessories from a wheelbarrow in Lagos.
Giving evidence, he told jurors that he thought he was being brought to the UK to work. He said he thought Obeta had been ‘sent from God’, and only found out it was for a kidney transplant when he visited the Royal Free Hospital.
The alleged victim appeared in court today via video link wearing a light blue jumper. He was assisted by a lgbo interpreter but spoke in English.
He told how he was born and bred in a village in Nigeria, the oldest of nine children to his carpenter father and mother.
He told the court he was brought up in a Nigerian village by his father, a carpenter, and his mother, with four younger brothers and four younger sisters, and he does not know his own date of birth, but believes he is 22 years old.
His village had no running water or electricity and the family would mainly grow their own food, he told the court.
The young man was ‘shocked’, felt like crying, and told jurors: ‘Nobody told me about kidney transplant.’
The court also heard how he was allegedly directed to lie to the doctor and claim Sonia was his first cousin.
The Home Office received his visa application on 6 January 2022, which said that he wanted to travel to the UK with his ‘cousin’ Sonia for an organ donation.
It stated: ‘Senator Ike Ekweremadu is sponsoring my medical treatment to enable me to donate an organ to Sonia Chinoso Ekweremadu in Royal Free Hospital London.
‘I wish to state in conclusion of this application that I would be donating an organ to my closest cousin in appreciation for her sacrifices towards me, my family and our community.
‘I am willing to put my life on the line for her to live and continue her good service to humanity.
‘Finally I wish to say that I will be travelling in company with my uncle Obinna Abalgou, he has been a father figure, since I lost my biological father’.
He also claimed he was told he had to go ahead with the operation in exchange for 1.2 million naira (around £2,000).
He said: ‘I was afraid because I don’t know what they are going to do to me.’
He initially set off on foot from London not knowing where he was going and asked any black people he saw for help.
Even though he was given money, he had nowhere to stay so decided to ask for directions to a police station, the court was told.
The Ekweremadus, who have an address in Willesden Green, north-west London, and Obeta, from Southwark, south London, deny the charge against them and the Old Bailey trial continues.