A Nigerian senator has been charged with conspiring to transport a boy to the UK in order to harvest organs.
Ike Ekweremadu, 60, and his wife Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu, 55, appeared at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court in west London earlier on Thursday.
The 15-year-old alleged victim has been taken into care. The Met Police said agencies were working to support him.
The court heard that Mr Ekweremadu, who is both a politician and a barrister, was deputy president of the Senate.
The defendants live in Nigeria but have family in London, magistrates were told. Both are accused of conspiracy to arrange and/or facilitate the travel of another person with a view to exploitation.
The pair were asked by the clerk for their address, to which they both replied: “Nigeria”.
The court heard the prosecution needed permission to proceed because of jurisdiction issues.
Prosecutor Damla Ayas told the court: “In respect of these offences the (UK) Attorney General’s consent is required and the Crown require 14 days for that to be obtained.”
Most of the alleged offences took place in the UK, magistrates heard. The Ekweremadus, who were arrested two days ago, have been remanded in custody to appear at the same court on 7 July.
Mr Ekweremadu, who was recently made a visiting professor at the University of Lincoln, served three terms as deputy president of the Senate, from 2007 to 2019.
A member of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), he has been a senator since 2003.
An investigation by the Metropolitan Police’s Specialist Crime Team took place after detectives were alerted to potential modern-day slavery offences.
Organ-harvesting involves removing parts of the body, often for commercial gain and against the will of the victim.
A University of Lincoln spokesman said: “Visiting professors are often, as is in this case, non-resident at the university, unpaid and advisory.
“We are deeply concerned about the nature of these allegations but as this is an active police investigation, we cannot comment further at this stage.”
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