Ike Ekweremadu, a former deputy senate president of Nigeria, his wife, Beatrice Ekweremadu, and Nigerian doctor, Dr. Obinna Obeta, who assisted in the trafficking of a young boy's organs to the UK, were each given a different prison sentence based on the nature of their offenses. According to a report from Channels Television, a judge at the Old Bailey in the United Kingdom sentenced Ekweremadu to 9 years and 8 months (almost 10 years) in prison, his wife Beatrice to 4 years and six months in prison, and the doctor who acted as the crime's intermediary to 10 years in prison and the ceasing of his medical license.
Leader of the All Progressive Congress, Adamu Garba, has blamed the former president Olusegun Obasanjo for Ekweremadu's detention in the UK as well as the recent battles of dissident Nigerians overseas in response to the UK judgement against the former Deputy Senate President of Nigeria.
He alleged that it was the responsibility of the former president Obasanjo that criminal Nigerians were not extradited to Nigeria to serve out their sentences but rather were punished in foreign jails. He asserted that Nigeria is a sovereign nation with its own laws, principles, and judicial system, all of which can be used as needed. I regard it as a stain on the sovereignty and reputation of our nation. A complete former deputy senate president to serve a prison sentence abroad? Who are we as a nation? I have seen some requests for his release from various individuals, most notably from former President Obasanjo and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, but this is insufficient.
If Nigeria is sincere about this, we should call upon the British ambassador right away, convey our disappointment with the situation while keeping in mind not Senator Ekweremadu's attitude, but rather the institution he represents and then, perhaps, later, negotiate within our diplomatic toolkit for what we can offer them in exchange for returning him to Nigeria.
Why do we have a mutually beneficial legal assistance treaty with the UK? What are the terms? How can we improve it? I don't like the idea that a former senate president is serving a jail term in the UK, honestly I don't, but I'm sure there will be a whole lot of diplomatic give and take to tidy up and bring Senator Ekweremadu and his wife to serve their jail time in Nigeria. According to Garba, this kind of thing was first permitted under the Obasanjo government, when they unintentionally permitted the late Governor Alamesiegha and the former Governor Ibori to serve jail terms abroad in the pretext of battling corruption. We ought to be wary of such immoral, unpatriotic errors since those set a negative precedent.
Nigeria has its own set of rules, values, and a fair judicial system that is capable of enforcing the law and enforcing sanctions when it is broken. For the sake of our national interests, we must stand up for our institutions and defend their right to exist.
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