For as long as I have known Ike Ekweremmadu, he has been a brilliant lawyer, a distinguished public servant, and a dedicated family man.  Over the course of two decades of shared service in the national legislature, he has become a dear friend and trusted colleague.

For these reasons, his arrest by authorities in the United Kingdom on charges of conspiring to arrange the travel of another Nigerian citizen to harvest his organs was a terrible shock.

These revelations are a far departure from the character of the man as I have known him and fall far short of the standards of behaviour expected from a person of his standing.  All that has come to light since his arrest has been deplorable and deeply unpleasant.

For twenty-four years since the return to democratic governance in Nigeria, Ike Ekweremmadu has served the people of his community, his state and his country with vigour and dedication.

For most of that time, he has been a member of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He has used this office to advance the cause of democracy, champion critical reforms and advocate for the development of his constituency.

Through his Ikeoha Foundation, he and his wife have helped provide access to quality education and healthcare for thousands of people in his community and his state.  Their public service and private philanthropy have helped improve the social, economic and political fortunes of their communities and aided the personal and professional progress of many.

None of this suggests that either Ike Ekweremadu or his wife should be above the law or held to a different standard than any other citizen.

I recount these things to present a whole perspective so that in this moment of consequence, the judgment of the court may take into consideration Ekweremadu’s history of honourable living and distinguished service, their contributions to a better world and the possibility that, given a chance, through the penitence of service, both Ike and his wife can yet atone for their failings and find forgiveness before God and man.

The welfare of two young Nigerians lies at the heart of this case. I hope that after all this is done, Mr David Nwamini, the complaining witness, will go on to a long and productive life, free from the trauma of his recent travails.

For Ms Sonia Ekeremadu, Ike’s young daughter, whose well-being necessitated the unfortunate actions that have now led to these terrible consequences for all involved, the nightmare of a dangerous diagnosis is compounded beyond measure by the real possibility that the two people most responsible for her care may shortly be committed to terms of punishment from which they will be unable to offer even a loving embrace when nothing else will do.

Surely, it is within our means to live under the law and be just and merciful all at once.  I urge the court to consider the noble acts of Ike Ekweremadu’s life and judge him on the totality of that life rather than solely on this last worst act.

I am confident that Ike Ekweremadu and his wife have learned from their recent experiences and will be guided by their better angels for the rest of their days. If nothing else, for the sake of their ailing daughter, Sonia, let mercy temper justice for this family.

*Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila= Speaker, House of Representatives*


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