News

May 28, 2015

Why court restrained IG from arresting Kashamu

Buruji Kashamu

Buruji Kashamu

We will abide by court’s decision—NDLEA

By Innocent Anaba & Evelyn Usman

Lagos—A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, yesterday, restrained the Inspector General of Police, IG, and  Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, from arresting the Senator-elect for Ogun East Senatorial District,  Prince Buruji Kashamu, for onward extradition to the United States of America over alleged drug-related offences.

Meanwhile, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, yesterday recanted its stance on Tuesday’s court order by another Federal High Court when it pledged to obey  the order of the court and vacate Kashamu’s residence.

Justice Okon Abang in his judgement in a fundamental human rights enforcement suit by Kashamu, challenging plans to extradite him to the US, held that the agencies must comply with the letters of the Extradition Act if they must arrest or extradite the senator -elect.

The court further restrained the IG from withdrawing the security details currently attached to the applicant.

 Kashamu

Kashamu

The court also directed the Clerk of the National Assembly to accord the applicant all he deserved as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The judge, who noted that he cannot perpetually restrain the respondents from arresting Kashamu, said “the respondents cannot be perpetually restrained from arresting the applicants but are restrained from unlawful arrest of the applicant without compliance to the provision of the Extradition Act.”

Respondents in the suit are  Chairman, NDLEA;  Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC;  Director General, Department of State Security, DSS; the Interpol, National Central Bureau, NCB and Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF.

Others are the Clerk of the National Assembly, the National Security Adviser to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC, Nigeria Custom Services, the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.

Kashamu had prayed the court to restrain the defendants and their agents from arresting, detaining or otherwise effecting his abduction upon spurious allegation.

The IG and the Interpol, in their counter affidavit in opposition to the applicant’s suit, had averred that no cause of action was declared against them in the suit and that the judge cannot sustain the suit based on speculations.

NDLEA in its counter-affidavit had averred that it had not received any instruction from the AGF or anywhere to extradite the applicant, adding that it was not aware of any plan to forcefully transport Kashamu to the United States for prosecution over alleged drug-related offences.

NDLEA argued that sometimes in 2003, the applicant was discharged of drug offences by a United Kingdom court over mistaken identity, urged the court to strike out the suit on the ground that it didn’t disclose a reasonable cause of action against it.

The EFCC Chairman and the Director General of DSS, in their counter affidavits, averred that they were not in collusion with the United States Government or former President Olusegun Obasanjo or anyone to kidnap or arrest the applicant.

We’ll abide by court’s decision—NDLEA

NDLEA’s head of Public Affairs, Mitchell Ofoyeju, in a statement, said: “The agency will obey the decision of the court of competent jurisdiction on the ongoing case involving senator-elect, Buruji Kashamu. As a government agency and a law enforcement institution that has respect for the rule of law, the NDLEA will abide by the decisions of a competent court.

“This is a legal issue and the agency has windows of opportunities to explore legally in advancing its case. NDLEA will not violate court orders or take law into its hands in enforcing its statutory responsibilities.”