Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has pleaded with the Central Criminal Court, Old Bailey, London, trying the former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife Beatrice, “to be magnanimous enough to temper justice with mercy”.
Obasanjo, in a letter, dated Monday, April 3, and addressed to the Chief Clerk of the court pleaded for clemency for Ekweremadu and his wife in the ongoing organ harvesting case against the Nigerian couple.
Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice, had been found guilty of organ trafficking in the United Kingdom.
The couple and their doctor, Obinna Obeta, were found culpable of violating the Modern Slavery Act.
The court, after a six-week trial found the trio guilty of facilitating the travel of a21-year boy to Britain with a view to exploit him for his kidney.
But, Obasanjo in the letter made available to journalists in Abeokuta, Ogun State through his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Akinyemi, pleaded for lesser punishment for the couple for the sake of their sick daughter.
He described Ekweremadu as “God-fearing, dispassionate, moderate and pan-Nigerian,” who has dedicated himself to “the service of God and humanity and he continues to play visible roles in national development.”
The former President said, “Mr. Chief Clerk, I am very much aware of the current travails and conviction of Ike Ekweremadu and his wife in the United Kingdom resulting from their being charged with conspiring to arrange the travel of a 21-year old from Nigeria to the UK in order to harvest organs for their daughter. I do realise the implications of their action and I dare say, it is unpleasant and condemnable and can’t be tolerated in any sane or civilised society.
“However, it is my fervent desire that for the very warm relations between the United Kingdom and Federal Republic of Nigeria; for his position as one of the distinguished Senators in the Nigerian Parliament, and also for the sake of their daughter in question, whose current health condition is in danger and requires an urgent medical attention, you will use your good offices to intervene and appeal to the court and the government of United Kingdom to be magnanimous enough to temper justice with mercy and let punishment that may have to come ,take their good character and parental instinct and care into consideration.
“I do hope Mr. and Mrs. Ekweremadu have learnt from this distressing experience of theirs to guide their future actions or inactions so they will continue to be outstanding members of their community and will continue to contribute fully to the good of the society in particular and the nation in general.”