The Senate has joined the House of Representatives and the ECOWAS parliament to appeal to the Central Criminal Court, Old Bailey, London, for leniency in the sentencing of Senator Ike Ekweremadu and his wife Beatrice.
The Senate’s decision to appeal for clemency followed a motion raised by Senator Chukwuka Utazi during Wednesday’s plenary session.
Their plea comes after both the House of Representatives and the ECOWAS Parliament on Tuesday appealed to the UK government to temper justice with mercy.
In the motion, Senator Utazi recalled that Ekweremadu was a Deputy Senate President for 12 years and the former Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament and has made enormous contributions to the development of democracy in Nigeria, West Africa and beyond.
He added that Ekweremadu and his wife are first-time offenders with no previous criminal records and that since the matter is in the United Kingdom, a novel approach in sentencing be adopted by tempering justice with mercy, as the publicity already given to the trial is enough warning to would-be offenders in the future.
Utazi further noted that the British judicial authorities should consider the long history of good relationship existing between Nigeria and the British government and that this is the first time the Senate is making this kind of plea to the British government to yield to a request for clemency for the Ekweremadus.
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, in his response said he had written a letter to the British judicial authorities two weeks ago seeking clemency on behalf of the Senate.
The appeal is ahead of the sentencing of Ekweremadu, who alongside his wife; and their doctor, Obinna Obeta were convicted for organ trafficking in the first verdict of its kind under the Modern Slavery Act.
After a six-week organ trafficking trial at the Old Bailey, the couple and their doctor on March 23 were found guilty of facilitating the travel of a young man to Britain on behalf of Ekweremadu’s sick daughter Sonia, with a view to his exploitation.