By Innocent Anaba & Evelyn Usman
LAGOS—A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, yesterday, ordered the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Mohammed Adoke, SAN, and the chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Mr Ahmadu Giade to appear before it today, over the siege laid to the Lagos residence of Senator-elect for Ogun East senatorial zone, Prince Buruji Kashamu.
In view of the urgent nature of this matter and in the light of subsisting judgment and court orders, instead of hearing an ex-parte application, the respondents are ordered to be put on notice to appear in court on 26/5/2015 at 12noon to be heard.
“And in view of the substantive judgement and court orders, time be and is hereby abridged for the respondents to appear,” the judge added. Meanwhile, the NDLEA said it was doing all within its constitutional power to ensure that Kashamu submits himself, adding that its officials would remain there until he appeared in court.
Kashamu is said to be wanted in the United States of America for alleged drug related crime had refused to be arrested at his Lagos residence, where operatives of the NDLEA had laid siege since Saturday, insisting that he would only submit to NDLEA upon being shown a warrant order for his arrest. NDLEA, insisted that Kashamu was on house arrest pending his scheduled appearance in court on Monday (yesterday).
Kashamu had earlier secured a judgment from Justice Okechukwu Okeke (now retired) of the Federal High Court restraining the Federal Government from taking steps to extradite him to the United States. The judgment was upturned by the Court of Appeal but is currently pending at the Supreme Court.
However, when there was fresh move to extradite Kashamu, he again filed another matter before Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Lagos, who has fixed May 27 for judgment. But the NDLEA could not produce Kashamu in court, yesterday, as the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, chieftain reportedly refused to yield to attempt to take him out of the house.
Kashamu on warrant of arrest
Kashamu insisted that he would not allow the NDLEA officials to take him to court for any extradition hearing until the agency was able to show him a warrant of arrest. The warrant of arrest of Kashamu was said not to be ready because the agency was yet to file necessary papers in the court to that effect.
However, while that was ongoing, Kashamu’s lawyer, Ajibola Oluyede moved an ex-parte application before Justice Ibrahim Buba, seeking an order directing the AGF and the NDLEA Chairman, Giade to release his client unconditionally within two hours of the service of the order on them, should it be granted.
A statement by the agency’s Head, Public Affairs, Ofoyeju Mitchell, said: “Senator-elect, Buruji Kashamu has failed to appear in court from his house where he is being closely monitored by operatives of the agency. The agency is working hard to ensure that he submits himself to the due process of the law. His house remained cordoned off by anti-narcotic officers pending his appearance in court.
“The extradition move by the NDLEA for Kashamu to answer drug trafficking charges is legal. The agency has not violated his rights and will continue to work within the confines of the law. He has been assured that due process of the law shall be adhered to at every stage. “NDLEA is the appropriate government agency to implement his extradition request and will diligently pursue the processes to a logical conclusion. It is expected that Kashamu will willingly submit himself to the laws of the country under which he seeks to serve as a senator.”
Kashamu’s counsel, Oluyede also filed motion on notice to commence committal proceedings against the AGF and Giade, and in the ex-parte application, he sought restraining orders against the respondents pending the hearing and determination of the committal proceedings. He also sought an order directing respondents to vacate Kashamu’s residence and his other property pending the hearing and determination of the committal proceedings.
Besides, Oluyede prayed for an order restraining the respondents from filling, commencing, continuing or otherwise maintaining any extradition proceedings against Kashamu pending the hearing and determination of the originating motion in the suit. He further asked for an order requiring the respondents to show cause by statement on oath filed within 48 hours of service of the order upon them why the court should not find them guilty of criminal contempt as charged in the application.
He also wants an order granting the applicant (Kashamu) leave to serve the originating processes and all other process meant for service on the AGF outside jurisdiction of the court.