Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, has once again made case for Ike Ekweremadu, the detained former Deputy Senate President.
The Igbo group is asking for clemency in favour of the former lawmaker who was jailed over organ trafficking charges.
He was convicted alongside his wife and a United Kingdom-based medical doctor, Obinna Obeta.
Speaking when the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo received the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, His Excellency, Dr Richard Montgomery at the National Secretariat of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Enugu, Archbishop Emmanuel Chukwuma, said that Ndigbo would be happy should Ekweremadu’s jail term be reduced.
He said: “There is a very important issue that we have to bring to your attention. You’re aware of the case of Nigeria’s former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu who was convicted and is in jail in your country. He’s from this state and we all know he got entangled in that unfortunate incident because he wanted to save his daughter.
“He is already serving a jail term. It’s unfortunate; but it has happened. I testified for him during the trial and in fact, the judge mentioned my name two times while delivering his judgment.
“But we are using the opportunity of your visit to ask for leniency for him so that he doesn’t spend the number of years in jail. We have accepted the judgment, but are saying if there’s anything that could be done to reduce the jail term.
“He’s from this area and if we don’t bring this thing up as Ohanaeze or from us here, concerning this important son of Igboland, it wouldn’t be nice of us. We are quite overwhelmed”.
Earlier, President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu appealed for the setting up of British Visa office in the southeast region.
He stated that the zone accounts for over sixty percent of Nigerians traveling to the United Kingdom, stressing that it was unfair that they were subjected to travelling to Abuja and Lagos to procure their Visa.
Iwuanyanwu who recalled the long relationship between Nigeria and British government, also appealed for bilateral collaboration to grow and develop the economy of the southeast region.
He identified insecurity that has now culminated to Monday sit at home as part of the challenge threatening the economy of the region, explaining that the new leadership of Ndigbo was working hard to overcome it.
Iwuanyanwu said that the Ohanaeze Ndigbo would soon set up a business council of prominent businessmen and assured that it would like to collaborate with the office of the commission for mutual economic benefits.
He said that the Ohanaeze Ndigbo has placed premium on education and agriculture to engage her teeming youths and reduce social malaise in the region.
In his remarks, Montgomery, who said he was on tour of the southeast, added that the visit would afford him opportunity to interact on areas of mutual collaboration with the British government.
He said that the British government would continue to advocate for peace in the country, stressing that it was delighted with the efforts by the Igbo in the development of Nigeria.