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A group of concerned Nigerians have appealed to the Government of the United Kingdom to release former deputy Senate president, Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Nwanneka on bail almost five months after they were arrested.
The group, in a letter submitted to the British High Commission, Abuja entitled ‘The Travail of Senator Ike Ekweremadu: Protest Against Continued Detention Without Trial,’ which was obtained by Africa Dialy News, New York described Ekweremadu as a law-abiding citizen, perfect gentleman, and philanthropist, who has used his resources to touch lives of the less privileged.
They said they were grieved in their hearts that Ekweremadu continued to languish in prison without trial over a clearly bail able, alleged offence.
The group led by Paul Sawa said while they had no doubt that Ekweremadu would ultimately be vindicated, discharged, and acquitted, it is trite that justice delayed is justice denied.
It said a fair application of the justice system presupposed justice for all parties, including the accused and presupposed innocence until proven guilty.
The group appealed to the UK to grant Ekweremadu bail.
Part of the letter read: ‘We are a body of Nigerians, who have keenly followed and are concerned about the travail of Senator Ike Ekweremadu and family, and the continued detention of a Nigerian citizen, a distinguished and serving Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who has been held behind bars by the British authorities since he was arrested alongside his wife upon arrival in the United Kingdom on 21st June 2022.
‘We have always known Senator Ike Ekweremadu as a law-abiding citizen, a perfect gentleman, and philanthropist, who has used his resources to touch the lives of the less privileged constituents and others, but as believers in the rule of law, we have held our peace since his arrest in the hope that the law would vindicate him and his wife in no distant time. Unfortunately, the nightmare has continued with a protracted trial and his continued detention.
‘A fair application of the justice system presupposes justice for all the parties, including the accused. It presupposes innocence until proven guilty. These fine principles of the law guarantee the fundamental human rights of every accused.
‘While we have no doubt that Senator Ike Ekweremadu will ultimately be vindicated, discharged, and acquitted. It is trite that justice delayed is justice denied. Therefore, it grieves our hearts that Senator Ekweremadu continues to languish in British prison without trial and over a clearly bailable, alleged offence.
‘We recall with concern that the Senator last appeared in court on 4th August 2022. He is billed to appear in court again on 31st October 2022, about three months after, for pre-trial hearing. But the real trial to determine his innocence or otherwise is scheduled to commence in May 2023, seven months after by which time Senator Ekweremadu would have spent about one year behind bars.
‘Worse still, we gather that the British authorities are also poised to charge Senator Ekweremadu’s ailing daughter to court on the same matter. This is most disturbing, especially as we had expected the UK authorities to be more humane and concerned with the treatment and recovery of the poor lady, who has evidently been through a lot already and whose condition must have been worsened by the travails of her parents in their bid to save her life.
‘We are then moved to ask: Where is the humanity in all of this? Where is human right in all of this? Where is the presumption of innocence for the accused? Would Nigerian government subject a UK Member of Parliament to the same shabby treatments and protracted detention on a clearly bail able offence under similar circumstance? More so, if such a UK parliamentarian had written to the Nigerian High Commission, fully disclosing the purpose of the organ donor’s trip, including the particular hospital where the case would be handled?’ The group asked.
The Concerned Nigerians, however, appealed to the UK to consider granting bail to Ekweremadu.