Prince-Buruji-Kashamu

Attempts by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to extradite the Senator-elect for the Ogun East Senatorial District, Prince Buruji Kashamu, has hit the rocks.Justice Okon Abang of a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos nullified the provisional warrant of arrest secured by the agency at an Abuja High Court in its quest to extradite Senator Kashamu.

The judge in a ruling on an application by Kashamu seeking an enforcement of a judgment delivered by Justice Abang declared that until the judgment of the court is appealed against and set aside by the Court of Appeal, no extradition proceedings can commence against Kashamu.He further held that the provisional warrant of arrest was obtained for want of jurisdiction in the sense that the judge’s attention was not drawn to the existing order barring the NDLEA and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) from taking any further steps on the extradition process.

The court further declared that the proceedings at the Abuja High Court is a nullity.Justice Abang also overruled the preliminary objections raised by the NDLEA and the AGF that the application is an abuse of court’s process, and that the court had no function to perform again since judgement had been delivered and that there was no personal service of the application on the NDLEA Chairman, Ahmadu Giade.Justice Abang had while delivering judgment in the fundamental human rights enforcement suit restrained the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Attorney General of the Federation(AGF) and nine others from arresting Kashamu for an extradition to the United States of America over alleged drug-related to offences.Justice Abang dismissed the preliminary objections of the NDLEA, the AGF, the National Security Adviser (NSA) and the National Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).He said for the purpose of determining whether a reasonable cause of action had been disclosed or not, he was enjoined by law to accept the fact as presented by the applicant.

On the objections of the NDLEA, the court held that the claim by its Chairman, that he was not a juristic person did not hold water.The court held that the NDLEA Chairman is a natural person that could sue and be sued.The court said that the applicant’s claims were in line with the provisions of Chapter 4 of the 1999 constitution.”The claims of the applicant are fundamental rights claims and the court has the jurisdiction to them”, the judge held.A cost of N10,000 was eventually awarded against the NDLEA in favour of the applicant.

The same amount was also awarded against the AGF, NSA and the NSCDC.The court went ahead to restrain the respondents from arresting Kashamu for a possible extradition to the United States for drug related offence based on an existing judgement of the court that was delivered on January 6, 2014.In the judgment, the court had restrained the IGP, SSS, NDLEA, NCS and the AGF from taking any step from arresting Kashamu based on a petition linking him to a drug offence.Justice Abang held that the order was subsisting since there had been no order staying its execution.”The respondents cannot in the exercise of their statutory powers, without appealing the earlier judgement, act on any application seeking the extradition of the applicant”, the judge said.The judge however declined to grant all the reliefs sought by the applicant that had to do with the involvement of former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, in his alleged planned arrest.He said it noted that the alleged roles of Chief Obasanjo were mentioned in several places in the applicant’s motion and so it was compelling that the court should hear from Obasanjo.”Obasanjo ought to have been joined and this would have helped the court in deciding whether or not to grant the reliefs.

The court cannot agree with the applicant that Chief Obasanjo colluded with others to abduct him”, the judge held.The court also turned down Kashamu’s request for a perpetual injunction against the respondents from assuming his position as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.The court said the respondents could not be restrained perpetually from arresting the applicant. They were only restrained from arresting the applicant without a warrant of arrest and from forcefully extraditing the applicant without due recourse to the Extradition Act.Kashamu?s request for an order asking the IGP to provide him with six policemen to protect him was also held incompetent.

The court however ordered the IGP to protect him as other Nigerians.It further restrained the IGP from withdrawing the security details currently attached to the applicant.The court equally directed the Clerk of the National Assembly to accord the applicant all he deserved as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. 

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