The plea and trial preparation hearing of former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice, over organ trafficking scheduled for Monday at the Central Criminal Court – a.k.a Old Bailey has been postponed.
According to a court official who spoke to The Guardian, “It’s not sitting on Monday, due to non-availability of counsel for Sonia,” . The official however, did not make it clear whether Ekweremadu’s sick daughter, Sonia, is now a defendant in the case.
The lawmaker and his wife were arrested on June 23 for allegedly trafficking one David Nwamini to harvest his organ for their sick daughter. Initial reports said Nwamini was a minor but reports from the Nigerian immigration showed, he was 21 years old.
The Old Bailey official also told the Guardian they won’t have to wait for long, as the “case will be re-listed for sometime during the week.”
Though Monday’s date was fixed when the couple and their co-defendant appeared before the judge on August 4, Sonia wasn’t listed in the hearing then. The official said “the judge” won’t be hearing the case because “there’s no counsel for Sonia.”
Ekweremadu has been refused bail but his wife was granted bail. He appeared via video link from prison for the August 4 hearing, where was reportedly said to have fallen sick and is not being treated fairly.
Recall that the Enugu-born lawmaker and his wife are being charged with Dr Obinna Obeta, with allegations of wanting to make payment for the procurement of organ for their daughter, Sonia, from Nwamini. The Senator has been kept in Her (now His) Majesty’s Prison since the June 23 arrest.
Meanwhile the trial according to sources may not commence until May 2023 even as unconfirmed but a reliable source said the Federal Government is making efforts to get the court to grant him bail, following the delay in the commencement of the trial.
However, such a move could require a guarantee from the Nigerian High Commission in London that he is not a flight risk.