Court Vacates Order Restraining Arrest, Extradition of Kashamu

The Court of Appeal, Lagos Division on Friday vacated a Federal High Court order which perpetually restrained the Federal Government from arresting Senator Buruji Kashamu.
The appellate court also set aside another order which nullified a warrant for Kashamu’s arrest and prevented extradition proceedings from being commenced against him.
Buruji, who represents Ogun East in the Red Chamber, is wanted by the United States of America (U.S.A) to stand trial for alleged importation of hard drugs into the country.
On May 25, 2015 Justice Okon Abang of Federal High Court perpetually restrained the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and other agencies of the Federal Government from “arresting, restraining, detaining, attacking or otherwise effecting the abduction” of Kashamu upon charges based on allegations of drug trafficking levelled against him by the US Government.
Justice Abang also set aside and nullified a warrant for the Senator’s arrest for extradition proceedings issued by another Federal High Court judge, Justice Saliu Saidu.
The extradition attempt followed an Extradition Treaty between the Federal Government and the U.S.A.
But, disatisfied, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) appealed both decisions.
It argued, through its counsel, Chief Emeka Ngige (SAN), that Justice Abang erred in granting some of the injunctive reliefs.
It urged the appellate court to set aside both lower courts’ judgment on the ground of miscarriage of justice.
It further claimed that Kashamu suppressed facts before the lower court to secure the restraining order against his extradition.
But in his counter application of last November 7, Kashamu, through his counsel, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) Chief Akin Olujinmi (SAN) and Hakeem O. Afolabi (SAN), urged the court to dismiss the AGF’s appeal.
In unanimous verdicts on Friday, and in two consolidated judgments, a three-man panel comprising Justices Yagarta Nimpar, Joseph Ikyegh and Anthony Ogakwu, upheld the government’s argument and upturned the lower court’s orders.
Justice Nimpar, who read the summary judgment, held that the lower court, having struck out several paragraphs in the affidavit relating to allegations that former President Olusegun Obasanjo was behind the Senator’s travails and alleged plans to forcibly extradite him to the US, the same court was wrong to retain other paragraphs of the same affidavit containing hearsay allegations against Mr Dapo Abiodun and Chief Godwin Obla SAN.
Justice Nimpar observed that the lower court relied heavily on speculations and conjectures in arriving at the judgment “which is not permitted in law.”
The court berated the lower court for not giving the AGF’s counsel opportunity to file a counter affidavit in opposition to the case file presented by Kashamu, when under the rules they still had three days to react to the processes.
This infraction, Justice Nimpar held, nullified the entire proceedings.
Justice Nimpar held: “The preliminary objection filed by the appellant against the substantive appeals is dismissed as lacking in merits.
“The appeal filed by the AGF against the ruling of the lower court is not statute barred.
“The oral statement of threat of abduction and forcibly transporting Senator BURUJI KASHAMU to the US is insufficient having not been backed by concrete evidence.”

Author: News Editor

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