Extradition: Court fines Kashamu for delaying suit against DSS, NDLEA
The Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday ordered Senator Buruji Kashamu to pay N50,000 cost each to the Department of State Services (DSS) Director-General and the National Drug law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke awarded the punitive cost against him for delaying his suit against them and others.
Kashamu is seeking to stop his extradition to the United States of America (U.S.A) over drug-related charges.
The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Commissioner of Police, Lagos Police Command and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) are the other respondents.
The senator representing Ogun East is praying the court to restrain the respondents and their agents from arresting, detaining him or interfering with his right to personal liberty and freedom of movement.
Yesterday, Kashamu’s lawyer Mrs Ifeoma Esom was absent.
She sought an adjournment on the suit through a letter to the court, saying she had another matter at the Court of Appeal.
Counsel to DSS, Mr O. Bajela and J. N. Sunday (for NDLEA) noted that the case had been adjourned severally at the plaintiff’s instance.
They asked for N100,000 and N200,000 costs against the plaintiff.
Justice Aneke awarded them N50,000 each.
The judge had taken arguments in the suit and had reserved judgment until April 29.
But judgment could not be delivered that day as the period fell within the Easter vacation, and the court did not sit.
The matter was adjourned till May 10 but could not hold due to a fresh issue raised by the plaintiff.
In a supporting affidavit, the applicant averred that the AGF was reported to have said that the U.S. Government had been told to make a fresh request for Kashamu’s extradition.
He averred that in a proceeding instituted in England by the U.S. authorities between 2002 and 2003, it was established that the senator was not the one implicated in the alleged narcotics offence committed in the U.S. in 1994.
But, the NDLEA, in a preliminary objection, said U.S. authorities were seeking to extradite Kashamu to answer charges relating to heroine trafficking.
According to NDLEA, the U.S. Government made a request to the Nigerian government for the applicant to be extradited in May 2015.
“By the established principles of international law, and our domestic Extradition Act, Nigeria is under obligation to inquire into all extradition requests of countries with which it has extradition treaties with a view to determining whether there is a basis for granting such requests.
“This process of inquiry will involve the adjudicatory processes of the courts, including the appeal process by an aggrieved party.
“The claims of the applicant of any exoneration or lack of evidence of wrongdoing are to be ventilated at the court inquiring into the extradition request,” NDLEA said.
NDLEA debunked Kashamu’s claim that he had been cleared of drug trafficking allegations.
“The applicant has never been exonerated of complicity of any crime by any court either in Nigeria, the United States of America or the United Kingdom,” the agency said.
NDLEA said Kashamu got wind of the extradition request and filed multiple lawsuits on the matter.
It averred that in all the lawsuits, Kashamu sought a restraining order against it from arresting and extraditing him to the U.S.
The agency said the senator’s suit and others were intended to stop it from discharging its duties.
Besides, NDLEA said it had not received any directive to arrest Kashamu over the extradition request.
“The existence of such directive, order or instruction is a ruse fabricated by the applicant to justify and sustain this suit,” the agency added.
Justice Aneke adjourned until October 31 for hearing.