Matthew Page, a Nigeria expert at the US state department’s bureau of intelligence and research, had warned the UK’s national crime agency (NCA) of the activities of Ike Ekweremadu, former senate president, ahead of his organ trafficking case.
According to a report by UK Guardian, the associate fellow at the Chatham House had alerted the UK authorities to investigate the illicit affairs of Ekweremadu, before he was jailed for trafficking a man to London in an attempt to harvest his kidney.
On May 5, Ekweremadu was sentenced to nine years and eight months in prison, while his wife, Beatrice, was sentenced to four years and six months for the same offence.
In June 2022, the couple was arrested by the London metropolitan police for attempting to convince doctors at the Royal Free hospital to perform an £80,000 transplant on the donor who was presented as the cousin of their daughter, Sonia.
But in the report, Page said the UK could have avoided the historical case of organ trafficking if the authorities had swiftly acted on his warnings about Ekweremadu.
In partnership with the UK’s department for international development, Page examined how Nigerian politicians including Ekweremadu used unexplained wealth to buy millions of pounds worth of properties in the UK.
He also investigated how such politicians used funds accrued over the years to sponsor expensive private education for their children.
“He found that in a 12-year period, Ekweremadu would have made about £339,000 as a political office holder, including his stint as deputy president of the Nigerian senate,” the report said.
“But in that period he bought three properties – two in London and one in Cambridge – worth £4.2m. The Old Bailey heard that Ekweremadu had an international property portfolio worth more than £6m.
“Page supplied the NCA with a dossier of information about how Ekweremadu had used unexplained wealth to fund his UK activities.
“Despite the warnings and financial red flags raised in the dossier, Ekweremadu’s organ trafficking plot went undetected until a young street trader from Lagos whom he had brought over fled to Staines police station in Surrey in May 2022 in fear for his life.”