Ekweremadu and four other Nigerian politicians ‘disgraced’ abroad

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Olujumoke Taiwo

Nigerian politicians have a long history of being on the wrong side of the law outside the shores. From money laundering, fraud and most recently human trafficking, their flamboyance, influence and powerful status are not sparred by authorities in foreign nations. Here are five who have brought “disgrace” to their nation.

1. Ike Ekweremadu: Ekweremadu, who has served in the Nigerian Senate since 2003 for Enugu State, has been arrested alongside his wife, Beatrice, for allegedly conspiring to traffic and harvest the organs of a child. The couple appeared at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court in London on Thursday after being arrested at Heathrow airport. They allegedly attempted to harvest the kidney of a 15-year-old, bringing the child from Lagos to the UK to procure his organ. The victim has been taken into protective care, and Ekweremadu and his wife will remain in police custody until July 7th.

2. James Ibori: Ibori’s case is probably the most famous case of a Nigerian politician arrested abroad for corruption. The former governor of Delta state, in office for eight years, from 1999—2007, had multiple counts of corruption and laundering charges by British officials and was convicted of 10 in 2012. He was originally given a 13-year jail sentence for the admitted fraud of stealing money from his governed state and laundering it in London. Many of his accomplices, including his wife and sister, were also charged and convicted in London. He served half of his sentence and currently resides in Nigeria.

3. Abidemi Rufai (Ruffy): In 2021, former Ogun State governor’s aide, Abidemi Rufai, was arrested in the United States for allegedly stealing over $350,000 through unemployment benefits fraud. He was reported to have stolen the identities of over a hundred Washington residents to file fraudulent claims to receive pandemic unemployment benefits, using different emails and claims, and filed fraudulent claims in multiple other American states as well. After being investigated by the FBI and the US Department of Justice, Ruufai remains in custody and his sentence will be determined in August 2022.

4. Diezani Alison-Madueke: In 2015 was the well-documented arrest of former Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources Diezani Alison-Madueke. The corruption charges against the ex-minister have led to two arrest warrants, one from the United Kingdom where she is now believed to have fled, and one from Nigeria. She was originally arrested among five others by UK National Crime Agency and alleged to have misappropriated billions in missing oil revenue.

5. Joshua Dariye – Former governor and senator of Plateau State, Dariye was first arrested in 2004, and in 2016 was still wanted in the United Kingdom for suspicion of money laundering. The former governor skipped bail and returned to Nigeria, later becoming a senator until charges of misappropriations of funds were brought against him that finally led to his imprisonment overseen by the Supreme Court. Though pardoned by President Buhari in April of this year, his release has been highly controversial.

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