The Ohanaeze Ndigbo, weekend, disagreed with the attorney general of the federation and minister of justice, Abubakar Malami, over his stand that Nigeria ‘will not interfere in the trial of Senator Ike Ekweremadu’ in the UK.
Ekweremadu is standing trial over an alleged organ harvest of a minor. He was arrested alongside his wife Beatrice. While his wife was granted bail, the court denied him same. His case will come up by the end of October this year.
Malami had stated that ‘the Federal Government of Nigeria will not interfere in any local or international legal battle involving Ekweremadu’. He added that, “It has never been the tradition of the Nigerian government to interfere in anything judicial, local or international.”
Ohanaeze, in a reaction through its national publicity secretary, Dr Alex Ogbonnia, stated that ‘cultural relativism is a vital factor in international relations’.
According to him, “It connotes that the norms and values of one culture should not be evaluated using the norms and values of another.
“In fact, it is the mosaic of cultures and the liberty for groups or nations to exercise their cultural rights that form the basics of international relations. To this end, sovereigns usually interfere to save their citizens in foreign countries.”
He recalled that Ekweremadu wrote to the UK High Commission to support a visa application of a ‘donor’ listed as David Ukpo Nwamini.
“In the letter,” Dr Ogbonnia stated, “Ekweremadu made a full disclosure that Mr Ukpo was undergoing ‘medical investigations for a kidney donation to his daughter’.
“The full name of the UK hospital was also stated and nothing shady. The Ekweremadu letter to the British Embassy was unequivocal.”
Based on this background, Ohanaeze wants the intervention of the FG to ensure justice for Ekweremadu.
Ogbonnia reminded Malami that the British Government intervened in favour of an ex-British serviceman, Captain Simon Mann, and the son of the late prime minister of Britain, Sir Mark Thatcher, who both faced charges in Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Equatorial Guinea over a planned 2004 coup in the Central African country, among other similar cases.
According to him, “Ohanaeze Ndigbo believes that Ekweremadu’s case should not be different, especially when Nigeria enjoys longstanding cordial relations with the UK, and all the individuals involved in the UK case are Nigerian nationals.
“There is nothing beyond diplomatic redemption once the political will is there. It is rather curious that the AGF is making reference to Nigeria ‘Child Rights Act’ more than a month after the UK Court ruled that the ‘donor’ is not a child.
“One would expect Nigeria to feel scandalised by the initial contempt by the British authorities in discountenancing an official document of Nigeria on the ‘donor’s’ age in the first place and feel disrespected by the continued refusal to grant Ekweremadu bail.
“Ohanaeze believes that Ike Ekweremadu has served Nigeria meritoriously in various capacities while in the Senate as the deputy president of the Senate; the speaker of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS), and was decorated with the service honour of the Commander of the Federal Republic-CFR.
“The Nigerian government and indeed all Nigerians should know that a measured indignity to Ike Ekweremadu, an illustrious Igbo and serving senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a sad denouement to Nigeria and indeed the entire Africa.
“We urge the federal government of Nigeria to burnish its diplomatic channels in ensuring that Ekweremadu and the wife get the desired assistance by transferring the case to Nigeria.”