Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF), says the federal government cannot intervene in the case of alleged organ harvesting involving Ike Ekweremadu, former deputy president of the senate.
The former deputy senate president and Beatrice, his wife, are facing charges bordering on conspiracy to arrange/facilitate the travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting.
The couple was arrested by the London Metropolitan Police in June and appeared before a magistrate court in July.
Ekweremadu’s wife was granted bail on July 22, while the lawmaker’s application was denied.
Speaking at a ministerial briefing on Thursday, Malami said it is not the practice of the government to intervene in judicial matters, whether local or international.
“It has never been the tradition of the Nigerian government to interfere in anything judicial, local or international. And that stands the position of the government,” he said.
“On the issue of the intervention on senator Ekweremadu. I have stated in the course of my presentation, that there have been in existence, mutual legal assistance requests and collaboration between Nigeria and other countries across the world. So, to this end, I want to state that we will address the request if there is such a request, both on the part of senator Ekweremadu.
“I can remember very well, there was a request, which was passed through my office but sealed and meant for delivery to the crime agency in the UK at the instance of the distinguished senator, which request I am not in a position to comment on because what relates to my office was a simple transmission.
“In view of the fact that the transmission of international documents is a function of a department central authority unit in the office of the attorney-general and on the request of senator Ekweremadu, an agency of government was asked to respond to certain inquiries, they did, and under seal, they presented their default which was transmitted to the UK accordingly.
“So, the implication of what I’m trying to state in essence is we have mutual legal assistance, understanding with the UK, and whichever of the agencies, either the senator as an accused or suspect or indeed the agencies in the UK, make any request for international support, we will respond accordingly.
“But as far as interest as to the federal government is concerned, it is not a matter over which we can develop any interest. Perhaps maybe, if there are interests, the interests should be rooted in law. For example, relating to the child in contention, you know, we have child rights, among others.
“In case of consular services, there is a need for senator Ekweremadu to be accorded one, in view of the fact that he is Nigerian, and the request is made. We’ll look at it on its merits.
“So, what I’m saying, in essence, it is not about meddlesome interloper, or perhaps maybe just coming into a scene relating to issues that border on crime.
“As you are likely aware, a number of Nigerians were before now convicted across the globe. And then a number of foreigners were equally convicted of recent in Nigeria . So, it is about issues that border on crime.
“If indeed, a criminal allegation is an issue, the jurisdiction determines what happens both in terms of request, in terms of support, and not for a Nigerian government to simply intervene because you are a high-profile personality.”