Ahead of the sentencing of former Deputy President of the Nigerian Senate, Ike Ekweremadu on May 5, the House of Representatives has appealed to the Central Criminal Court, United Kingdom, to temper justice with mercy.
This followed the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance raised by the deputy minority leader of the House, Hon. Toby Okechukwu during the plenary session of the House on Tuesday. The lawmakers also asked the United Kingdom government to interfere in the sentencing of Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Beatrice.
The lawmakers pleaded that the UK court “temper justice with mercy” in the sentencing of the lawmaker and also urged the Federal Government to take diplomatic steps to intervene in his trial. It also asked the Clerk of the lower legislative chamber to “convey” their resolutions in writing to the British Embassy, the UK government, and the parliament.
Ekweremadu is due to be sentenced on May 5 at the Central Criminal Court, Old Bailey in the UK. Ekweremadu, 60; his wife, Beatrice, 56; and Dr Obinna Obeta, 51, were found guilty of processing the travel of a young man to Britain with a view to his exploitation after a six-week trial at the Old Bailey
Presenting the motion, Okechukwu said that Ekweremadu acted based on his limited knowledge of the UK laws, stressing that he must have learned his lessons.
The lawmaker said: “Senator Ike Ekweremadu, a Nigerian citizen, serving Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, former Deputy President of the Nigerian Senate, and former Deputy Speaker and Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament and his wife, Mrs Beatrice Ekweremadu, were tried and convicted by the Central Criminal Court, London, the United Kingdom (UK) for offences relating to the breach of the novel Modern Slavery Act 2015.
“The sentencing of the couple is scheduled for May 5, 2023. Senator Ike Ekweremadu acted within his limited knowledge of the UK laws and did write to the UK High Commission to support the medical visa application for the potential donor and did declare the purpose of the trip.
“Senator Ekweremadu and Mrs. Beatrice acted under the natural instincts of parents to save an ailing daughter, and not for commercial purposes.
“It is a common practice in international relations for nations, including the UK, to seek relief for their citizens involved in situations such as that of the Ekweremadus. The House is also aware of the longstanding history and cordial ties between Nigeria and the UK.
“Elder statesmen such as former Military Head of State and President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, have made a passionate plea for clemency, testifying also to Senator Ekweremadu’s character as a patriot, god-fearing, philanthropic, and progressive citizen, who has served Nigeria and West Africa as former three-term Deputy President of the Senate as well as Deputy Speaker and Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament.
“Several Nigerian national dailies have also joined the call for clemency for the Ekweremadus through their editorials. The predicaments of Ekweremadu’s ailing daughter, who needs financial support and parental love of her parents to scale through her dire health challenge. The Ekweremadus must have learnt their lessons.”