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FACT-CHECK: Did the UK govt arrest Senate delegates who visited Ekweremadu in prison?

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CLAIM: A Facebook user in a recent post claimed that delegates sent by the Nigerian Senate to visit Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who is in prison custody in the United Kingdom for alleged organ harvesting, were arrested by the UK government for allegedly sponsoring Boko Haram.

FACT CHECK: Did the UK govt arrest Senate delegates who visited Ekweremadu in prison?

VERDICT: False

FULL TEXT

Senator Ike Ekweremadu represents Enugu West senatorial district of Enugu State in the Nigerian Senate. He is one of Nigeria’s longest serving parliamentarians, as he has been in the upper chamber since 2003. He was the Deputy Senate President from 2007 to 2019.

News broke on June 22 that he had been arrested alongside his wife, Beatrice over allegations of attempted organ harvesting of a boy they took to London.

The Metropolitan Police said Ekweremadu and his wife were arraigned at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court for conspiracy to facilitate the travel of another person with a view to “exploitation, namely organ harvesting.”

While the boy, David Nwamina told the Metropolitan Police that he was 15 years old, the Ekweremadus, backed by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) insists that David is 21, and that he consented to donating a kidney to Ekweremadu’s daughter, who is reportedly battling with kidney failure.

The hearing of the case had been adjourned twice, but it resumed yesterday, July 7, at the Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court.

Meanwhile, the Senate, last week, sent delegates to the UK in solidarity with their colleague and his wife.

Speaking after a closed-door session on Wednesday, June 29, the Senate President Ahmad Lawan said the delegation which included members of the committee on foreign affairs would visit Ekweremadu on Friday, July 1.

“The high commission has also been able to provide some consular services that included the engagement of lawyers who defend our colleague. We commend them for putting this particular issue at stake,” the Senate president said.

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“Equally, the British, the Nigerian ministers of foreign affairs have been engaged here so that the ministry of foreign affairs extends diplomatic support for our colleague because this issue is already in court we have limited opportunity to discuss beyond what we have done so far.

“I want to assure the family of our colleague and Nigerians that the Senate will continue to engage with our ministry of foreign affairs as well as the Nigerian High ommission in London.

“The High Commission has done so much but we still expect that it will continue to provide consular service. And we have also mandated our committee on foreign affairs to engage with the British commission here in Nigeria to find more details on this case as far as the high delegation is involved.

“There will be a delegation to London to see the former deputy Senate President. A delegation from the Senate committee on foreign affairs will leave in the next two days to London for that purpose,” Lawan said.

VERIFICATION

The Facebook User, who claimed that the delegates had been arrested attributed his claim to “The Sun”

However, Ripples Nigeria checked the websites of both The Sun Newspaper in Nigeria, and The Sun UK, but did not find any report of an arrest of Nigerian delegates by the UK government. Neither was the report published by any mainstream media.

CONCLUSION

The claim that Nigeria’s Senate delegates were arrested is false. In fact, some of the senators, including the chairman of the Senate committee on foreign affairs, Adamu Muhammad Bulkachawa, were sighted at the hearing yesterday.

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