A Nigerian street trader, who accuses the country’s former deputy senate president of trying to harvest his kidney in the UK, told a British court on Tuesday that he begged police officers to “save my life”.
The 21-year-old from Lagos, who cannot be named for legal reasons, accuses Ike and Beatrice Ekweremadu of flying him to London in order to harvest his kidney for their 25-year-old daughter Sonia, who has a kidney condition.
The alleged victim told London’s Old Bailey court that he had slept on the streets for three days after doctors at a London hospital told him he would not be a suitable donor following preliminary tests.
He then walked into a police station last May and said he was “looking for someone to save my life”, the court heard.
In previous testimony, the former street trader alleged that he was recruited by a doctor working for the politician.
He told jurors he thought he was coming to the UK to work and only realised it was for a kidney transplant when he was taken to London’s Royal Free Hospital.
“Nobody told me about kidney transplant,” he said.
He told the court that he would be paid around £2,000 ($2,418) for the operation and that he had been coached to tell doctors he was part of the Ekweremadu family.
All three of the Ekweremadus and their doctor are on trial at London’s famous Central Criminal Court. They have pleaded not guilty and face life imprisonment if convicted.
In Britain, it is legal to donate a kidney, but not for reward. Prosecutors say regardless of whether the Lagos street trader gave his consent, a crime was committed by the wealthy Nigerians.
The consultant doctor said the young man had “limited understanding” of why he was there and was “visibly relieved” on being told the transplant would not go ahead, prosecutor Hugh Davies earlier told the court.
Ike Ekweremadu, 60, is a senator for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party for Enugu state in southeast Nigeria.
He has remained in custody after the judge agreed with prosecutors that he could try to flee the UK. His wife and daughter are out on conditional bail.
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