The House of Representatives has urged the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Nigeria’s High Commission to the UK to ensure embattled Sen. Ike Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice are provided with all consular services they require.
The resolution was sequel to a unanimous adoption of a motion by Rep. Abdullahi Abdulkadir (APC-Bauchi).
It came during plenary on Tuesday, June 28.
Moving the motion earlier, Abdulkadir said he is concerned about the arrest of Ekweremadu, a Nigerian citize; a serving senator, a former Deputy President of the Senate; as well as former Deputy Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament by the metropolitan police in the United Kingdom.
He said Ekweremadu and his wife Beatrice were arrested at the London Heathrow Airport; adding that they were apprehended on their arrival from Nigeria to the United Kingdom.
According to him, the Metropolitan Police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) have since charged the Ekweremadus with offences relating to human trafficking and exploitation.
Further, Abdulkadir said that the Nigerian lawmaker and his spouse had been detained; pending the determination of the jurisdiction issues by the Attorney-General of England and Whales.
“Concerned that the additional information emerging from the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS); as well as other legitimate sources including the visa issuing protocols at the UK High Commission.
“Bank verification number (BVN) suggests a different narrative that might not have been available to the metropolitan police at the time of arrest and charge.
“Hopeful that the authority in the United Kingdom will work with their national security and intelligence counterpart in Nigeria to conduct a holistic and thorough investigation to ascertain all the facts relating to the allegation in order to make a fair determination on the issues in the best interest of equity and justice for all concerned.
“I am confident that the Federal Government of Nigeria will, through the respective organs of government; use all available tools to ensure that the investigation and outcome of this will be conducted in the highest fidelity to the rule of law and with respect to the dignity of the person as enshrined in the European Convention of human rights which the United Kingdom is a signatory,” he said.
The lawmakers requested that the agencies of government and corporate bodies; particularly the National Identity Commission (NIMC), Nigerian Immigration Service, and bank;, act swiftly to respond to legitimate requests for information to facilitate the prompt resolution of the charges against Ekweremadu.
The House resolved to invite the Minister of Foreign Affairs; acting Comptroller of the Nigerian Immigration Service; as well as Director-General of NIMC to brief the house through the relevant committees on all necessary actions taken regarding the matter.
In his ruling, the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila said that a criminal charge does not constitute a conviction; or conclusive proof of guilt.
According to him, this is merely the beginning of the judicial process to substantiate the fact of the allegation; while also gathering sufficient evidence to sustain the charges therein.
“Until that process is concluded and even then, let us keep in mind that at the heart of this matter; there are human beings and fellow citizens whose lives have taken a turn none of us would ever wish for ourselves,” he said.