The Nigerian Senate has made an appeal to the United Kingdom authorities for clemency over the sentencing of its former deputy president, Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife. Ekweremadu was recently convicted by a UK court over organ harvesting involving a 21-year-old David Nwamini Ukpo who is from Ebonyi State. According to the Senate, both Ekweremadu and his wife are first offenders and, while they are not appealing the sentencing, they are only asking for clemency.
The Senate’s resolution came after Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP-Enugu) sponsored a motion of privilege at plenary on Wednesday. In his presentation, Utazi explained that although the sentencing of the Ekweremadus had been shifted to May 6, there was a need for clemency given Ekweremadu’s good standing account. He stated that Ekweremadu had made enormous contributions to the development of democracy in Nigeria, West Africa, and beyond, having served as a former Deputy Senate President for 12 years and former Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament.
The Senate recognizes that the Ekweremadus were faced with dire circumstances when they sought out a kidney donor to save their dying daughter Sonia, and that ignorance of the law is not an excuse. However, they are asking for clemency to be extended to the Ekweremadus considering that they are first-time offenders with no previous criminal records. They also proposed that a novel approach in sentencing the convicts be adopted by tempering justice with mercy.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, stated that he had written a letter to the British judicial authorities seeking clemency for Ekweremadu, given his long history of service to the development of the Parliament across Africa and the world. He emphasized that while the conviction had been done, the Senate was seeking clemency for a colleague, a patriot, a leader, a great leader, a very peaceful man who was getting involved in this kind of thing for the first time.
The Senate appealed to the British government to yield to their request for clemency for the Ekweremadus, considering the long history of good relationship existing between Nigeria and the British government. They emphasized that they are law-abiding citizens who respect their country’s laws and laws of other countries.