The pan-Igbo sociocultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has faulted the statement credited to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami that the Federal Government cannot do much to secure the release of former Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu from British prisons.
Malami was quoted to have said: “The Federal Government of Nigeria will not interfere with any local or international legal battle involving the former Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu, who is currently facing trial for alleged organ harvest in the United Kingdom.”
Malami disclosed this to journalists on Thursday at the 46th Session of the State House Briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The AGF further claimed that: “It has never been the tradition of the Nigerian government to interfere in anything judicial, local or international.”
Ohanaeze, however, stated that cultural relativism is a vital factor in international relations, which it said connotes that the norms and values of one culture should not be evaluated using the norms and values of another.
In a statement signed by Dr. Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia, National Publicity Secretary, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, the group urged the Federal Government of Nigeria led by President Muhammadu Buhari and Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, the Minister of Foreign Affairs; Nigeria High Commission in the UK, the Senate and House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to burnish their diplomatic channels in ensuring that Ekweremadu and the wife get the desired assistance by transferring the case to Nigeria.
“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 savetheir citizens in foreign countries.
“In the case involving Ekweremadu, it should be recalled that the former Deputy President of the Senate had written to the UK High Commission to support a visa application of a ‘donor’ listed as David Ukpo Nwamini.
“In the letter, 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. He indicated the purpose of his travel and also requested the Embassy to grant visa to Mr Ukpo for a stated purpose. We view Ekweremadu’s full disclosure as a proof of non-criminal intent.”
The apex Igbo group cited the example of when 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.
It also cited Samantha Orobator, a British citizen who was arrested in Lao People’s Democratic Republic in 2008 over drug trafficking and the case was subsequently transferred to the UK.