Ekweremadu: In terms of criminal justice, Britain is Nigeria's adversary.


I want to be clear that I have no sympathy for Senator Ike Ekweremadu, a former vice president of the Senate, and his wife, Beatrice, who were recently sentenced to prison by a British court for crimes involving human trafficking and organ harvesting.

But those pleading with King Charles III, the newly crowned British king, to forgive the couple are mistaken. Such requests highlight the stark differences between Nigeria and Britain in terms of criminal justice and the rule of law and contribute to the view of Nigeria as a lawless nation.

Think about this. The Archbishop of Canterbury, members of the Royal Family, the British Prime Minister, and some UK Parliament members have all been charged with and punished for infractions related to routine traffic laws.

But in this case, my goal is to generalize a claim made about particular instances. I'm particularly curious about why well-known Nigerians who were not found guilty of an offense in Nigeria or who would not have been found guilty of it there were found guilty of the same offense in Britain. What broad conclusions can be drawn from those specific instances and that pattern? 

It's a lengthy list. But perhaps the most well-known is James Ibori, the former governor of Delta State, who was cleared of a 170-count money laundering allegation in Nigeria but pleaded guilty to a 10-count fraud charge in an English court. And here we have the Ekweremadus, who in Nigeria would not have been found guilty.

A retired judge was quoted by a publication last week as saying he would not have mattered if Senator Ekweremadu had been tried in Nigeria. Really? The eminent judge lied. The trial judge, Mr. Justice Jeremy Johnson, listed off the names of notable Nigerians who wrote to him when giving his ruling in the Ekweremadu case. He claimed to have received 51 pages of character statements. 

They included the former president Obasanjo, the president of the Senate at the time, the speaker of the House of Representatives at the time, and the minister of justice and attorney general for the Federation at the time!

One must ponder why many eminent Nigerians appealed for Senator Ekweremadu given that the British legislation he disobeyed is recognized in Nigeria.

The 'high and mighty' would have made sure he wasn't convicted, much less sentenced to prison, if he had been prosecuted in Nigeria. He is after all well-known and affluent. Ekweremadu "owns multiple properties around the globe, as many as forty," the British judge claimed, a statement that may not have escaped the judge's attention. 

Additionally, the fact that those speaking up for Senator Ekweremadu showed zero care for the victim, a young child in need, may not have escaped the judge's notice. Because of the Ekweremadus' daughter Sonia's failing kidneys, the judge felt sympathy for them. However, he questioned why they did not look for a donor in a legitimate and proper manner rather than "exploiting" the youngster. The entire narrative reeked of abuse and exploitation.

of privilege and authority, all of which affected the judge's judgment.

However, as I previously stated, I'm intrigued by the Ekweremadu case and comparable instances of well-known Nigerians who were found guilty in Britain in order to illustrate a general argument, namely that Britain has turned into Nigeria's archrival when it comes to criminal justice and the rule of law. Since the powerful cannot be made to answer for their actions, Nigeria's regulatory and legal systems are ineffective. It's always "possible to manipulate and corrupt the regulatory system" in Nigeria, the British judge observed. How come, though? Why is it that the wealthy may evade punishment in Nigeria but not in Britain? I offer three explanations.

Politization is the first. Away from the government, regulatory, anti-corruption, and law enforcement organizations function in Britain and other nations with a strong rule of law. However, in Nigeria,

are completely polarized in politics and under the sway of the big politicians in power. As a result, their judgments and decisions are frequently affected by partisan factors.

Consider the NDLEA, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency. It recently fiercely defended Bola Tinubu from accusations of drug use. However, Tinubu chose Brig-General Buba Marwa's daughter to his transition committee since Marwa is a steadfast supporter of APC, the party of the NDLEA chairman. Few people will attest to the NDLEA's objectivity in this case.

As Premium Times noted last week, the front-runners in the election for the next Senate President "face daunting corruption allegations." However, during the past eight years, the EFCC has immediately backpedaled on any notable opposition figure's case, implying political influence, after that politician joined the ruling party after being accused of corruption. That cannot take place in a nation with a strong rule of law, where everyone is subject to the law regardless of political connections.

Technical ineptness is the second explanation. The regulatory and law enforcement agencies in Nigeria do not have the technical means to look into and bring matters to court, even when there is no political intervention. Why, for example, would the EFCC bring accusations of a multibillion-naira fraud against a public official or politician and the case would ultimately die down?

As previously stated by former president Obasanjo Serious corruption suspects frequently employed "ogbologbo lawyers" to outwit the EFCC. But why is it possible to evade the law in Nigeria with the aid of "ogbologbo lawyers" but to be found guilty in Britain? Prominent Nigerian politicians frequently respond when accused of corruption by saying, "I have not been found guilty by any court or tribunal." But will any of them consent to a British courtroom?

Consequently, the third justification is the Nigerian courts. The "harm principle," or the harm that corruption and other vices do to society, is not really understood by Nigerian courts. According to Abdulrasheed Bawa, the chairman of the EFFC, high-profile corruption cases were being lost in court "on technical grounds" last year.

Considering how Nigerian courts exploit technicalities, They wouldn't have sentenced individuals like Ibori and Ekweremadu to prison. The public interest and substantive justice are their top priorities. We also can't ignore another uniqueness of Nigeria: some of the judicial system is corrupt.

However, how tragic if it takes British courts to bring influential Nigerians accountable. I would prefer that Nigeria's judicial and regulatory systems handle this on their own turf!

Ekweremadu refers to Ike Ekweremadu, a Nigerian politician who served as the Deputy Senate President of Nigeria from 2007 to 2019. He was a member of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) and represented Enugu West Senatorial District.

Ike Ekweremadu was born on May 12, 1962, in Mpu, Aninri Local Government Area of Enugu State, Nigeria. He obtained his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Law from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and later earned a Ph.D. in Law from the same university.

During his time as Deputy Senate President, Ekweremadu played a significant role in Nigerian politics and was known for his contributions to legislative processes. He was also involved in various committees and initiatives aimed at advancing democracy and good governance in Nigeria.

It's important to note that my knowledge is based on information available up until September 2021, so there may have been new developments or changes regarding Ekweremadu since then.

Germany's Nuremberg was attacked

When members of the Indigenous People of Biafra IPOB stormed the event's venue on August 17, 2019, while Ekweremadu was attending the Second Annual Cultural Festival and Convention hosted by Ndi-Igbo Germany in Nuremberg, he was subjected to a violent attack. He was questioned about the deaths of Igbos during Operation Crocodile Smile and Python Dance by the IPOB. They also questioned Ekweremadu about his alleged involvement in Nigeria's ban on IPOB. The conflict quickly got out of hand to the point where Ekweremadu was physically dragged from the location, attacked, and spat upon with eggs. Later, he would say that he left the scene with only minor wounds. IPOB's leader, Nnamdi Kanu, published a In a statement about the assault on Ekweremadu, the speaker called it a "polite warning" and forewarned other Igbo governors of potential treatment on par. The four suspects were detained, charged with bodily assault, found guilty, and given a 20-day sentence of hard labor without the possibility of a fine.

UK conviction for organ harvesting in 2022

Ekweremadu, his wife, his daughter, and Dr. Obinna Obeta were all accused of trying to arrange the entry of a 21-year-old from Lagos into the UK for the purpose of organ harvesting on June 23, 2022. Ekweremadu, his wife, and Dr. Obinna Obeta were found guilty of planning to use the guy for their kidney on March 23, 2023. The victim was transported to the UK in, the prosecution testified during the Old Bailey trial. to donate a kidney in a private, £80,000 transplant at the Royal Free Hospital in London in 2022. According to the prosecution, the victim was promised a job and up to £7,000 in exchange for visiting the UK.The prosecution confirmed that a life sentence was the highest possible in the organ harvesting case. The couple's daughter, who was exonerated of the same allegation, was to get the organ when it was removed.Ekweremadu received a nine years and eight months in jail term on May 5, 2023. In the meantime, Obeta received a ten-year prison term, and Ekweremadu's wife received a four-year, six-month sentence.Ekweremadu was being imprisoned on remand at HM Prison Wandsworth as of August 2022, while Obeta was being kept on

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