Ike Ekweremadu, a former vice president of the senate, and his wife Beatrice were convicted of organ trafficking in the UK.
After a six-week trial at the Old Bailey, the couple, along with their daughter Sonia and a doctor named Dr. Obinna Obeta, were found accountable for aiding a young man’s travel to Britain with the intention of exploitation.
The jury concluded on Thursday that they had criminally planned to use the 21-year-old street vendor from Lagos to extort money from him for his kidney.
The judge, Justice Jeremy Johnson, will issue a judgment at a later time, according to The Guardian UK.
The Modern Slavery Act was used for the first time to convict them on Thursday.
Ekweremadu and his wife were detained in the UK last year on suspicion of smuggling a young man into the nation for kidney harvesting.
The young man allegedly pretended to be Sonia’s cousin in an unsuccessful attempt to convince medical staff to perform an $80,000 private surgery at London’s Royal Free Hospital.
After kidney disease led Sonia to discontinue her studies for a master’s degree in film at Newcastle University, the young man was allegedly offered an unlawful reward to become a donor for Sonia.
The individual and other potential contributors were considered “disposable assets – spare parts for reward,” according to the prosecutor, Hugh Davies KC, who testified in court.
He said that they engaged in an “emotionally cold commercial transaction” with the individual, according to a report from The Guardian UK.
Ekweremadu’s actions demonstrated “entitlement, dishonesty, and hypocrisy,” Davies told the jurors.
According to him, Ekweremadu “agreed to reward someone for a kidney for his daughter — someone in poverty from whom he distanced himself and made no inquiries, and with whom, for his own political protection, he wanted no direct contact.”
According to Davies, what he agreed to do was not just practical for his daughter Sonia’s medical needs; it was also exploitation and illegal.
Saying that he did it out of love for his daughter is not a defence. Her medical requirements cannot be satisfied at the expense of exploiting a person in need.