Nigeria is one big country, heterogeneous and with sensational happenings. It is the stage upon which the theatre of the absurd is established. The absurd can come in different ways. Just like the cunny chameleon treats its audience to crafts and stunts, Nigeria acted to the chagrin of those who want the best for it. And to those who want worse, he gave his best. Do not ask the country anything, as she might not give to you despite having more than enough. Her goodies are meant for delegates who are subject to the lopsided morals in the album waxed by the hip-hop artiste, who sang, Collect Your Money, Wake Up! This was the song to which the political delegates were treated at the All Progressives Congress’ National Convention.
In the previous week, Nigeria acted weird and showcased the spirit of one of her foremost leaders, a man whose frustration though wrapped in the resplendence of the flowing agbada could not endure the cool and collected atmosphere. It had to rear its ugly head, while he was away, and not just the beauty of his wife could scorch the fanned embers of scandal prepared against him by his frustration and the enemies of his soul.
Ike Ekweremadu is a legal practitioner and a sitting senator with meteoric growth. He used to be the deputy president of the Senate; had also contributed in no small measure to what operates as law-making internationally. He will clock 20 years in the Senate in a few months.
In short, the man is one of the few titled men of his era, not to be compared with the deadlock in Unoka, a full-blown man addressed as “woman” in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. Only a few men see the model in Unoka, they have chosen not to see the courage with which he parades his debts, including those terrible times when he had to sleep in the gutters after entering the trance of Dionysus, the first connoisseur of wines.
The giant, Ekweremadu, and his wife, Nwanneka, were nabbed for the first time by the unsparing and trained fingers of the Metropolitan Police at the Heathrow Airport, London. The controversial arrest was said to have been necessitated by the need to quickly check Ekweremadu, lest he proceeds to harvest from where he has not sown or that he tampers a subset of the sacred set. The big fish was caught for not just allegedly trafficking a fingerling but also attempting to predate on its flesh by harvesting, speedily, a kidney and life.
This is not to say there is something wrong with the idea of getting from one to rescue the other. It is absolutely right to do this, to share life as if it were the last supper on the table. But it must be with intent and in the spirit of a passionate disposition to consolidate on the sanctity of human life.
Research carried out in the United States revealed how not less than 21 people die every day while expecting to be placed on life support or rescued via a much-needed organ. In fact, 107,380 men, women and children await the transplant of a life-saving organ. But the physicians saddled with this job will not just pick anybody, sweet-tongue him to submission. They have to run through some mental routines; inform the parents, family healthcare provider, lawyer and religious leader.
Ekweremadu and his wife were both arraigned before the Uxbridge Magistrate Court on the matter of Sonia Ekweremadu, who is currently battling a kidney issue. They, to this effect, invited one 15-year-old Ukpo David, a destitute hustler, through one Okoro, who had reportedly approached David with the enticing picture of the white man’s land, and asked him if he could work in the UK. Ukpo answered in the affirmative and signified interest in meeting the Ekweremadus. It was from here that the journey of travelling to the Queen’s land began. In all these, there are glaring vacuums, loopholes yet to be filled.
It is yet to be confirmed whether there was any engagement between the family of the homeless donor and that of the donee before he was issued the passport on November 4, 2021. Whether the engagement eventually resulted in a legally binding agreement between both parties is still a subject of serious controversy. The agreement does not in any way tamper with the right of the donor to give consent. It is about building structures around the young boy, in other to aid his decision when he eventually beholds the shock.
Recently, different controversies have greeted his age. The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Isa Jere, said Ukpo is 21 and not 15, as he claimed. The age mentioned has been consolidated by his Bank Verification Number details.
As much as I don’t want to dwell on the contentious age, I feel a 21-year-old is still a child who needs discretion. Neurology pinpointed that people in their early 20s have the same brain as teenaged minors. The mid-20s are the period when the brain is fully developed and changes from adolescent to adult.
How sure are we that the guy was well furnished with the nitty-gritty of his action? Reports revealed how he had been having medical appointments as to the donation of the organ since he travelled to the UK around February. He never protested until he was aware of what he came to do. Which is within his right to do.
Could Senator Ekweremadu have reached an agreement with only David and not the parents who gave birth to him, not even when his attaining the age of majority doesn’t translate to maturity?
How does he want to defend the fact that he left Nigeria to be at the bedside of his own sick daughter but could not afford to fly David’s parents to encourage him through the complicated process of the organ harvest? How does he want a young boy, beclouded by youthful exuberance, to cope with the reality of the process without support? Did he ask about the parents?
David Nwamini is just one of the vulnerable, poor, illiterate Nigerian young persons, beaten down to a tool that works for an end. He is a product of the failure planted by politicians of Ekweremadu’s stock. They have used them to achieve their selfish ends and have also feasted on their flesh.
I feel Ekweremadu (being a scholar of law) should be the specimen upon which the powerful experiment of justice is carried out. This is because the system has chosen to shield invited suspects like Police Inspector Abba Kyari, whose domestic offence has been limited to a Nigerian prison. The UK government has allowed justice to take its full course by resisting bail for Ekweremadu.
He should defend himself against what Prosecutor Damla Ayas told Uxbridge Magistrates Court. Damla maintained that David is just 15, though destitute. He was deceived with the promise of a better life in the foreign land and was eventually presented with the criminal passport of a 41-year-old. The passport was obtained via shady means. Damla revealed how David does not have the full knowledge of his mission despite its being written on his visa and his blood sample being obtained. He was still unconscious of his mission despite being taken to several medical facilities in the UK. He became conscious on turning up for a medical appointment with experts at the Royal Free Hospital, who took him lessons on organ harvesting for a kidney transplant.
I do hope justice is done in this case as the Senate has by conduct chosen not to interfere. The Ekweremadus may get a maximum of life sentence or 12 months imprisonment or a fine or both on summary conviction under the United Kingdom’s Modern Slavery Act 2015 if found guilty.
Akingbondere, an intern at the Falana & Falana Chambers, writes from Lagos.