FG: We won’t interfere in Ekweremadu’s UK trial

The Federal Government has said it would not interfere in the ongoing trial of former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, in London, United Kingdom.

Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice, have since been standing trial for allegedly plotting to traffic a Nigerian into the United Kingdom to harvest his kidney for their ailing daughter.

While Beatrice was granted bail by the Central Criminal Court in the United Kingdom, Senator Ekweremadu was remanded till October 31, the next adjourned date.

Speaking at the State House Ministerial Briefing on Thursday, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said the Federal Government has the tradition of not interfering in any judicial matter whether local or international.

Malami stressed that the government would maintain the position in the matter involving Ekweremadu and his wife.

The AGF said: “On the issue of the intervention on Senator Ekweremadu. I have stated in the course of my presentation, that there has been in existence, mutual legal assistance requests and collaboration between Nigeria and other countries across the world. So, to this end, I want to state that we will address request if that is such a request, both on the part of Senator Ekweremadu.

“I can remember very well, there was a request, which was passed through my office but sealed and meant for delivery to the Crime Agency in the UK at the instance of Distinguished Senator, which request I was not in a position to comment on because what relates to my office was a simple transmission.

“In view of the fact that the transmission of international documents is a function of a department central authority unit in the Office of the Attorney General and on the request of Senator Ekweremadu, an agency of government was asked to respond to certain inquiries, they did, and under seal, they presented their default which was transmitted to UK accordingly.

“So the implication of what I’m trying to state in essence is we have mutual legal assistance, understanding with the UK, and whichever of the agencies, either the Senator as an accused or suspect, or indeed the agencies in the UK, make any request for international support we will respond accordingly.

“But as far as interest as to the Federal Government is concerned, it is not a matter over which we can develop any interest. Perhaps maybe, if there are interests, there are interests that should be rooted in law. For example, relating to the child in contention, you know, we have Child Rights among others.

“For example. If there is an allegation of breach, we may possibly consider looking at it from that perspective.

“In case of consular services there is need for Senator Ekweremadu to be accorded one, in view of the fact that he is Nigerian, and the request is made, we’ll look at it on its merits. So, what I’m saying, in essence, is not about meddlesome interloper, or perhaps maybe just coming into a scene relating to issues that border on crime.

“As you are likely aware, a number of Nigerians were before now convicted across the globe. And then a number of foreigners are equally convicted recently in Nigeria, and over time. So, it is about issues that border on crime.

“If indeed, a crime allegation is an issue, the jurisdiction determines what happens both in terms of request in terms of support and not for a Nigerian government to simply because you are a high-profile personality you jump into that arena.

“It has never been the tradition of Nigerian government to interfere in anything judicial, local or international. And that stands the position of the government,” Malami stated.

Beatrice was charged with arranging or facilitating the travel of another person with a view to exploitation, between August 1 last year and May 5, under the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

On the other hand, Ekweremadu, a lawyer and Senator representing Enugu West Senatorial District in the National Assembly, was charged with conspiracy to arrange or facilitate travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting.

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