BY INNOCENT ANABA
LAGOS — A Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, chieftain in Ogun State, Prince Buruji Kashamu, has urged the Court of Appeal, Lagos, to set aside its judgment delivered on July 2 regarding the purported attempt to extradite him to the United States by the Federal Government.
He said the judgment was “delivered without jurisdiction” because the panel’s integrity was questioned.
Kashamu is contending that while the appeal was pending, a petition was written accusing the panel of justices of alleged compromise in another appeal. He (Kashamu) was accused of being behind the petition.
Following the development, Kashamu said he wrote a separate petition urging the court to constitute an independent panel to hear pending appeals involving him.
He averred in an affidavit in support of the appeal, that “In spite of the aforestated petition of the respondent/applicant alleging likelihood of bias against the Lagos Division of this court, and without awaiting the outcome of the said petition written to the President of the Court of Appeal, a hearing notice was sent out fixing hearing for April 18.
“The judgment was not read in open court and typed copies thereof were not available to parties until July 8, 2013. A reasonable onlooker would come to the conclusion that there were other considerations than the end of justice involved in the manner the case was determined and the result.
“The panel of the Court of Appeal, Lagos constituted by its presiding justice lacked jurisdiction in any event to determine the appeal in the circumstances of the unresolved allegation of bias made against it by the respondent/applicant in his petition.
“The judgment of this court delivered on July 2, 2013 is, therefore, a nullity having been delivered without jurisdiction.”
This court has the power to set aside any of its orders or judgment which is a nullity.
“I verily believe that it is in the interest of justice to grant the reliefs sought in this application,” Kashamu averred.
The Attorney-General of the Federation had appealed a judgment delivered by a former judge of the Federal High Court, Lagos, Justice Okechukwu Okeke, who had restrained the government from entertaining or making any order whatsoever in respect of any request by the United States Government for the surrender of the applicant (Kashamu) in respect of alleged importation of prohibited narcotic into the USA between 1993 and 1995.
The appellant raised three is issues for determination: whether the suit disclosed a reasonable cause of action, whether the suit should have been commenced by way of an originating summons, and whether there was merit in the suit to warrant the grant of Kashamu’s prayers by Justice Okeke.
In the judgment delivered by Justice Ibrahim Saulawa, the Appeal Court resolved the issues in favour of the appellant.
Two other Justices, Chinwe Iyizoba and Joseph Ikyegh also found merit in the appeal and concurred.