Trader gives evidence at organ donation plot trial

Nigerian market trader allegedly trafficked to London has told a jury he was shocked when a doctor revealed he was there to donate a kidney.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said he thought he was coming to the UK for work.

At the Old Bailey, Nigerian pol­itician, Ike Ekweremadu, 60, has denied breaking modern slavery laws.

He is accused of bringing the 21-year-old to the UK to provide a kidney for his daughter, Sonia.

His wife, Beatrice, 56, daughter Sonia, 25, and associate, Dr Obin­na Obeta, 50, also deny conspiring to arrange or facilitate the travel of the young man to Britain with a view to his exploitation.

The prosecution claims Mr Ekweremadu paid middle-men thousands of pounds to find a donor in Nigeria and arrange the kidney transplant in Britain.

The street trader de­scribed being “controlled” and was told to lie about having a family connec­tion with the Ekweremadu family before a consul­tation at the Royal Free Hospital in north London in February 2022.

The court heard when the doctor told him he was there to donate a kidney, he was “shocked”.

“I was crying when he told me about that. I told him that I don’t know any­thing about a kidney transplant,” he said.

However, concerned at his young age and apparent lack of awareness of the process, two doctors said the transplant should not take place.

Giving evidence via a vid­eo-link, the Nigerian told the jury he grew up in a remote village without electricity or running water.

Aged 15, he moved to Lagos to work with an uncle selling mobile phone accessories in a market. Six years later, he was offered the opportunity to travel to London by the defendant, Dr Obeta, de­scribed by the prosecution as Mr Ekweremadu’s “fixer”.

“The first day that he called me all he told me was it was about work,” the alleged trafficking victim said.

“He asked me not to tell people that I’m coming to the UK.” —BBC

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