Thursday, July 2, 2015

Court dismisses extradition case against Senator Buruji Kashamu

A Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed an application for the extradition of Senator Buruji Kashamu, to the United States of America to face illicit drugs related offence trial.
The immediate past Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, had filed the application on May 28, 2015 upon an alleged United State government’s request asking the Nigerian government to submit Kashamu for extradition.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole in his ruling held that he lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit in the face of the subsisting orders and judgments of the Federal High Court, Lagos in Suit Nos. FHC/L/CS/49/2010 and FHC/L/CS/508/2015 restraining the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) from entertaining any extradition request from the United States of America against Kashamu on the basis of the same allegations from Kashamu had been exonerated by two British court judgments.
Justice Kolawole noted that the various judgments and orders of the British and Nigerian courts had not been appealed or set aside by an appellate court.
Justice Okon Abang of the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court had on June 8, 2015 nullified the extradition proceedings which he said were initiated on in contravention of an earlier order of the court.
Abang’s orders nullifying steps taken by the NDLEA and AGF were affirmed by Justice Ibrahim Buba in a ruling on June 23, 2015 who said subsisting orders and judgements of the court must be obeyed until set aside by a superior court.
Though Justice Kolawole expressed reservations on the Lagos judgments, which he described as “wide and perhaps wild,” he held that it was the exclusive duty of the Court of Appeal to determine whether they were valid or not.
Kashamu’s counsel, Mr. Ajibola Oluyede had on June 25, 2015, when the case came up for the first time, urged the court to strike out the extradition application in the light of the previous subsisting judgments.
However, Justice Kolawole, who cited several authorities to the effect that the court is enjoined to take judicial notice of developments related to a case, noted that he had sometime in 2013 ruled in another application seeking to register the two British court judgments that even without registering same, the judgments were enough shield for Kashamu against any fresh extradition proceedings.
The judge then dismissed the suit, describing same as an abuse of court process.
While the Kashamu’s legal team comprised of Dr. Alex Iziyon (SAN), Mr. Ahmed Raji (SAN) and Prince Ajibola Oluyede, the AGF’s team was led by a Deputy Director in the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. M. I. Hassan.

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