The house of representatives has resolved to take measures to enable Ike Ekweremadu, former deputy senate president, and his wife, Beatrice, to get justice in the UK.
At Tuesday’s plenary session, Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house, said he will “try” to meet his UK counterpart to ensure the Ekweremadus are given fair treatment.
Gbajabiamila made the remarks following the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance sponsored by Abdullahi Abdulkadir, a legislator from Bauchi state.
The former deputy senate president and his wife were recently arrested for allegedly taking an individual to the UK for organ harvesting.
They were subsequently remanded in custody till July 7.
Gbajabiamila said the lower legislative chamber will use “diplomatic pressure” to ensure that “due process” is followed in the issue.
“I have spoken with the Nigerian high commissioner (to the UK, Sharafa Ishola) who has been extremely proactive in this matter and I expressed the need for him to continue to avail Senator Ekweremadu with all the necessary assistance that he will need to prove his case. I think this should be heightened as well to the UK parliament,” Gbajabiamila said.
“I would try and get in touch with the speaker of the parliament (UK) whom I was opportune to meet with and had fruitful discussions with just a couple of months ago. I believe honourable Buba Yusuf (chairman of the house committee on foreign affairs) should also get in touch with his foreign affairs counterpart in the UK parliament.
“We are not talking about anything but for the parliament in the UK to make sure that Senator Ekweremadu gets the proper due process, that the rule of law is applied and that he is treated fairly on this matter. I believe the UK parliament or the congress of the United States, if their own was involved or if they have one of theirs, even a citizen, in this country that was going through the same travails, I believe that those parliaments would responsibly get involved as well. So, we must apply diplomatic pressure.”
The speaker said Nigeria and the UK have “strong diplomatic ties”, adding that “we have to wait to gather all the facts” on the matter.
While moving his motion, Abdulkadir said fresh information suggests a different narrative which might not be available to the UK police at the time of the arrest of Ekweremadu and his wife.
He said the UK should work with 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.”
Contribution to the motion, Toby Okechukwu, deputy minority leader, said the UK may have acted on inaccurate information.
The motion was unanimously adopted when it was put to a voice vote by Gbajabiamila.
The house subsequently mandated the ministry of foreign affairs and the high commission of Nigeria to the UK to wade into the matter.
The lower chamber asked the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) and banks to “swiftly respond to legitimate requests for information to facilitate the prompt resolution of the charges.”
The minister of foreign affairs, acting comptroller of the NIS, director-general and chief executive officer of NIMC were also invited to “brief the house of representatives through the relevant committees on all necessary actions taken regarding this matter”.