Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the supreme Igbo socio-cultural organisation, on Sunday, August 14, 2022 criticised the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, for the Federal Government’s stance on the arrest and prosecution of Senator Ike Ekweremadu for alleged organ harvesting in the United Kingdom.
Malami had on Thursday revealed that the Federal Government will not interfere with any local or international legal battle; particularly involving the former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu. Further, the AGF claimed that it has never been the tradition of the Nigerian government.
Ekweremadu is currently facing trial for alleged organ harvest in the United Kingdom.
However, the organisation refuted the AGF’s assertion in a statement titled; “Ekweremadu: Ohanaeze disagrees with Malami, calls for FG’s intervention,” released by its spokesman, Dr. Alex Ogbonnia.
Ogbonnia did so by reminding the AGF of how Nigeria in late 2018 and 2019, it used her full diplomatic leverage to secure the release of Zainab Kila, a Nigerian woman after she had spent 124 days in a Saudi Arabia jail.
It also cited instances of British citizens being charged in foreign jurisdictions; noting that the British Government stepped in to defend an ex-serviceman, Captain Simon Mann; as well as the late British Prime Minister’s son, Sir Mark Thatcher. Both accused of involvement in a plot to overthrow the government in Equatorial Guinea in 2004.
The apex Igbo body noted that during Kila’s case; the then Senior Special Assistant to the President on Diaspora Affairs, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, had stated that the President had directed the AGF; as well as other key government agencies to intervene which eventually saw to her release.
While noting that there is nothing beyond diplomatic redemption once there is a political will, Ohanaeze said; “We believe that Ekweremadu’s case should not be different; especially when Nigeria enjoys longstanding cordial relations with the UK…All the individuals involved in the UK case are Nigerian nationals.
“We reckon that Nigeria could never give the same treatment to a British parliamentarian of Ekweremadu’s pedigree.
“Ohanaeze believes that Ike Ekweremadu has served Nigeria meritoriously in various capacities while in the Senate as the Deputy President of the Senate; and the Speaker of the Economic Community of West Africa States, among others, and was decorated with the service honour of the Commander of the Federal Republic.
“The Nigerian government and indeed all Nigerians should know that a measured indignity to Ike Ekweremadu, an illustrious Igbo and a serving senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a sad denouement to Nigeria and indeed entire Africa.
“We urge the Federal Government of Nigeria led by President Muhammadu Buhari and Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, the Minister of Foreign Affairs; Nigeria High Commission in the UK, the Senate and House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to burnish their diplomatic channels in ensuring that Ekweremadu and his wife get the desired assistance by transferring the case to Nigeria.”