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Organ Harvesting Charges UK Court Denies Ekweremadu, Wife Bail

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A magistrate’s court in London has denied bail to Senator Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Beatrice Nwanneka, over charges that they trafficked a 15-year-old Lagos boy with the intention to harvest his organ.
The arrest was announced by the London Metropolitan Police, yesterday, with officials saying that the couple would be charged promptly before a court in Uxbridge.
Ekweremadu appeared before a magistrate, yesterday afternoon, and was denied bail.
The case was subsequently adjourned until July 7, after the child involved was identified as a homeless 15-year-old from Lagos.
However, details of the alleged offence of Senator Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Beatrice Nwanneka, were unveiled, yesterday, as they were accused of plotting to traffic a homeless child from Lagos into the UK to harvest his organs.
The court heard the couple, who have four children and a house in Willesden, North London, hoped to transplant the boy’s organs to their daughter who suffers from kidney failure.
Police were alerted to potential offences under modern slavery laws last month and arrested the couple two days ago at Heathrow Airport as they attempted to board a plane to Turkey, the court heard.
Ekweremadu, 60, is said to have had £20,000 on him at the time of his arrest, according to prosecutors.
The child is now under the care of safeguarding authorities and the Metropolitan Police, officials say.
Ekweremadu, and accountant wife, Beatrice, 55, are charged with conspiracy to arrange or facilitate travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting.
The senator was wearing a grey sweater while his wife was wearing a black and white knitted cardigan at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court, yesterday.
Prosecutor Damla Ayas said: “It is conspiracy in relation to human trafficking offences for the purposes of organ harvesting. The victim in this case is 15 years old.
“They (the couple), were interviewed at the police station. Both of the defendants have provided a prepared statement.
“Mr Ekweremadu, in his prepared statement, denied allegations of human trafficking.
“He said at no stage has he arranged transport for anyone with intention to exploit them.”
His wife similarly denied the allegations in her prepared statement, the court heard.
Counsel to Ekweremadu, Gavin Irwin, said: “There is no question this is a serious allegation. Mr Ekweremadu is a member of the Senate in Nigeria.
“He has previously held an even more senior role as deputy president of the Senate.
“He is a member of the bar in Nigeria. He is a principal in a law firm that bears his name.
“Those issues taken together go way beyond him being a person of good character…rather that he has led a blameless life as a public servant.”
Irwin added that the allegations were “nothing short of preposterous”.
Also speaking, Counsel for Mrs Ekweremadu, Antonia Gray, said: “She has never been complicit or involved in any alleged illegal trafficking of any young person.
“She is a financial accountant with an unblemished record.”
The couple have an address they could stay at in Willesden, northwest London, the court heard.
The prosecutor made an application to adjourn the matters for 14 days.
Ms Ayas said: “In respect of these offences, Attorney General’s consent is required and the Crown requires 14 days for that to be obtained.”
Magistrate Lois Sheard said: “These are serious allegations and these matters are now adjourned until July 7, back here at Uxbridge.”
Ms Sheard remanded both defendants into custody ahead of their hearing next month.
The Ekweremadus are charged with “conspiring to arrange or facilitate travel of another person with a view to exploitation….between August 1, 2021 and May 5, 2022 within the jurisdiction of Central Criminal Court”.
The investigation was launched by the Met’s Specialist Crime team after detectives were alerted to potential offences under modern slavery legislation in May, 2022.
The Met Police has confirmed that the boy is safe and being looked after.
Mr Ekweremadu was held with Nwanneka Ekweremadu in Britain this month.
Ekweremadu has been an elected senator in Abuja since 2003 after moving into politics after years as a lawyer.
His wife, five years his junior, is an academic and doctor, and also a major public figure in Nigeria.
They are believed to have four adult children.
The Metropolitan Police has said that the child, who is under the age of 18, at the centre of the alleged plot, is in care.
Organ harvesting involves removing parts of the body, often for cash and against the victim’s will.
Ekweremadu has been in the UK for, at least, the past fortnight having met with members of the Nigerian community in Britain in Lincoln around 10 days ago.
He tweeted: “It was a pleasure and an honour to receive a letter of appointment by the University of Lincoln, UK, as Visiting Professor of Corporate and International Linkages. I also got a highly treasured gift – a copy of the Magna Carter. It was created in 1215, about 807 years ago”.
The investigation was launched after detectives were alerted to potential offences under modern slavery legislation in May, 2022, the force said.
Spokesman for Ekweremadu, Uche Anichukwu, confirmed that his principal had been held in the UK.

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Akeredolu will be remembered for truth, justice – Aiyedatiwa

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Gov. Lucky Aiyedatiwa of Ondo State on Wednesday said the late former Governor of the state, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, would be remembered for his good deeds, especially standing for truth and justice.

Aiyedatiwa stated this during a special court session held in honour of the late former governor at the Ondo State High Court in Akure.

He explained that the former governor used his knowledge, ebullience and capacities to defend the human peaceful existence.

Aiyedatiwa added that the deceased deeds during his life time were greatly impactful.

According to him, the deceased was after justice and rule of law.

Aiyedatiwa said that late Akeredolu was always not pleased when justice was not served.

He described the honour bestowed on the late governor as a well deserved because his life evolved around the legal profession.

“He was an achiever with success stories. He stood firm and was committed to truth and justice,” he said.

Also speaking, the Chief Judge (CJ) of the state, Justice Olusegun Odusola, said that late Akeredolu remained celebrated in death more than being alive considering a reference to his achievements and attainment in life.

Odusola said that the late governor was a courageous fighter, who faced the serious security challenges in the state with ingenious courage that had become a national model.

He stated that it was more-worthy that the late governor did not interfere with judicial activities, even when it did not favour his desires.

According to him, late Akeredolu was a man that lived with his words.

“In my last encounter with him at a time when his health was obviously failing, Arakunrin still reiterated his desire to construct a judiciary complex that will be the envy of other states in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“He also spoke about judges’ welfare and I wondered how a man in such a condition could still love the judiciary so much as to remember the little promises he made,” he said.

The CJ said that late Akeredolu was an outstanding legal icon and a political colossus, a man who was an exemplar of indefatigable courage, principled resistance with honesty and self-respect.

He stated that late Akeredolu would continue to be a good reference point in humanity.

In his remarks, the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr Yakubu Maikyau, described the late governor as a man with keen passion to help humanity and secure peace.

Maikyau added that the deceased was a person of humility known for truth and justice, and asked the deceased family to take solace in the good deeds of the late governor.

Dignitaries present include Gov. Abdulrasak Abdulrahman of Kwara; Ondo State Deputy Gov, Olayide Adelami; Chief Olusola Oke, SAN; and APC Chairman in Ondo State, Mr Ade Adetimehin.

Others are human rights lawyer, Mr Kayode Ajulo; Ambassador Sola Iji, Speaker Ondo State House of Assembly; and former Inspector of Police, Mr Sunday Ehindero.

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Gunmen Kill Police Inspector In Rivers 

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The Rivers State Police Command said an Inspector was killed by gunmen who ambushed and attacked its men on a stop and search duty at the Eliozu Flyover in Obio/Akpo Local Government Area of the state on Wednesday night.

The spokesperson of the command, Grace Iringe-Koko, disclosed this in a statement issued yesterday.

Iringe-Koko said the gunmen who were spotted in a carton-colored Sienna bus with fully tinted glasses drove in from the Rumuodumaya axis, near Port Harcourt where they launched the offensive which claimed the officer’s life.

She, however, said the team rose to the occasion and returned fire and neutralised one of the miscreants who wore masks, but that other gang members escaped by the whisker.

The statement reads, “We are deeply saddened to announce a heinous incident that occurred on 21st February 2024, involving an attack on policemen attached to Operation Sting of the Rivers State Police Command.

“At approximately 2145hrs, while conducting routine stop-and-search at Eliozu flyover, the officers were ambushed by unidentified hoodlums operating in a carton-colored Sienna bus, with fully tinted glasses.

“The registration number of the vehicle remains unknown at this time.

“The assailants drove in from the Rumuodumaya axis, and opened fire on the police team, resulting in the tragic loss of one Inspector who valiantly gave his life in the line of duty.

“Undeterred, the police team responded with bravery, engaging the attackers and managing to neutralise one of them with a mask on his face, while the others managed to escape, potentially sustaining gunshot wounds.

“The command has launched a thorough investigation into this despicable act and has already identified the group responsible.

“Rest assured, we will relentlessly pursue these criminals and bring them to justice. No amount of intimidation will hinder our officers’ unwavering commitment to safeguarding the lives and property of the citizens.”

While noting that such acts of aggression against security forces detrimentally impact the safety and security of our entire society, she stressed that the command remains resolute in its duty to maintain peace and protect the well-being of the populace.

“The Commissioner of Police, Olatunji Disu, reiterates unequivocally that those who perpetrate violence against policemen or any citizen will face the full weight of the law.

“We urge all law-abiding citizens to continue with their daily activities without panic, as we are determined to uphold our mandate of preserving lives and property in the face of such challenges.

“We extend our deepest condolences to the family and colleagues of the fallen inspector, and we assure them that his sacrifice will not be in vain. Our resolve to serve and protect remains unwavering as we stand together against those who seek to disrupt the peace and harmony of our society”, she said.

Recall that last year, a former Divisional Police Officer of Ahoada Division, Bako Angbashim, was ambushed and killed by a cult gang.

Since the death of the cop, the command has been on his trail, with constant land and air bombardments in the various hideouts of the Iceland cult leader, even as some of his lieutenants were gunned down previously.

However, on Monday, Grace Iringe-Koko,  said intelligence reports revealed that the wanted cult kingpin was killed in a recent joint security raid in the Idu-Ekpeye community, Ahoada East Local Government Area of the State.

 

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Nigeria’s GDP Grew By 3.46% In Q4 2023  -NBS

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Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product grew by 3.46 per cent year-on-year in real terms in the fourth quarter of 2023, the National Bureau of Statistics has disclosed.

In its ‘Nigerian Gross Domestic Product Report (Q4, 2023),’ released yesterday, the NBS said the growth rate is lower than the 3.52 per cent recorded in the fourth quarter of 2022 and higher than the third quarter of 2023 growth of 2.54 per cent

It added that the service industry was responsible for the growth in the quarter.

Both the IMF and World Bank expected Nigeria’s economy to grow by 2.9 per cent in 2023.

The report read, “Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 3.46 per cent (year-on-year) in real terms in the fourth quarter of 2023.

“This growth rate is lower than the 3.52 per cent recorded in the fourth quarter of 2022 and higher than the third quarter of 2023 growth of 2.54 per cent.

“The performance of the GDP in the fourth quarter of 2023 was driven mainly by the Services sector, which recorded a growth of 3.98 per cent and contributed 56.55 per cent to the aggregate GDP.”

In terms of share of the GDP, industry, and the services sectors contributed more to the aggregate GDP in the fourth quarter of 2023 compared to the fourth quarter of 2022.

“The agriculture sector grew by 2.10 per cent, from the growth of 2.05 per cent recorded in the fourth quarter of 2022. The growth of the industry sector was 3.86 per cent, an improvement from -0.94 per cent recorded in the fourth quarter of 2022. In terms of share of the GDP, industry, and the services sectors contributed more to the aggregate GDP in the fourth quarter of 2023 compared to the fourth quarter of 2022. On an annual basis, GDP grew by 2.74 per cent in 2023 relative to 3.10 per cent in 2022,” the report added.

 

 

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