A Nigerian court Friday nullified the election of a prominent politician wanted in the United States on drug trafficking charges.
An election tribunal in the southwestern city of Abeokuta declared the victory of Senator Buruji Kashamu void because of apparent irregularities in more than 100 polling units.
“The election is nullified in line with Section 140 (2) and 140 (3) (of the electoral act)… We hereby order fresh elections in the affected polling units,” tribunal judge Tobi Ebimowei ruled.
Kashamu, elected in March to represent Ogun state in the upper chamber of parliament, was placed under house arrest in May before a planned extradition hearing.
But the Federal High Court in Lagos later ordered agents of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to leave the property and suspended extradition hearings.
Kashamu was indicted in an Illinois court in 1998 over conspiracy to distribute heroin.
He was arrested in Britain that December but ultimately convinced British authorities that the drug trafficking evidence in fact related to his brother and that US investigators had confused the two men.
A British court approved his release in 2003 and Kashamu returned to Nigeria, where he became a major funder of the then-ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The United States has sought Kashamu’s extradition for two decades and it was not clear if Nigeria’s decision to act was linked to political shifts.
The PDP under president Goodluck Jonathan was defeated nationally by Muhammadu Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC). Buhari has since embarked on a drive against corruption.
Kashamu has repeatedly denied any involvement in drug smuggling, consistently throwing blame on his deceased brother, whom he reportedly