Updated: February 24, 2021
A Nigerian senator who is wanted in the United States for drug trafficking may become the governor of the southwestern state of Ogun on Saturday.
Butuji Kashamu, a senator representing Ogun East Senatorial district at the National Assembly is the People’s Democratic Party candidate in the Saturday’s gubernatorial election in Ogun State.
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If he wins, he would have immunity from deportation for drug trafficking related offenses reportedly committed in the state of Illinois.
The United States had long requested his extradition but with alleged drug money, Senator has fought back hard against the Nigerian anti-trafficking agency, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
With final moves to extradite him to the United States Senator Kashamu filed a suit urging the court to protect his right to movement and restrain any agency from arresting or deporting him.
But on Friday, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), the Department of State Security Services (DSS) and National Drug Laws Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), today, told a Federal High Court, Lagos, that the suit filed by Senator Buruji Kashamu against them over alleged extradition move, was speculative and abuse of court processes.
The three agency urged the court to dismiss the suit with punitive and substantial cost against Kashamu.
Kashamu in a suit filed by his lawyer, Ifeoma Esom, is asking the court for an order restraining all the respondents from arresting or detaining him in any matter whatsoever interfering with his personal liberty and freedom of movement.
At the resumed hearing of the matter on Friday, the three agencies who were represented by counsel, in their respective preliminary objections and counter affidavits, urged the court to dismiss the applicant’s suit for being Speculative and abuse of court process.
In urging the court to dismiss the suit against DSS, its counsel, Mr. M. O. Bajela, told the court that the applicant filed the suit on speculation which contradicted section 115 (3)(4) of the Evidence Act, 2011, as amended.
Bajela urged the court to dismiss the suit as the law does not operate on speculation.
In his own words, Mr. J. N. Sunday, who led Ichakpa Oigoga for NDLEA, while urging the court to dismiss Buruji’s suit against his agency with substantive cost, he also told the court that the suit is based on speculation.
He informed the court that the same ploy was used by the applicant in 2014 and 2015, which he said his agency have got judgement in two appeal filed against the applicant.
He said: “the whole substance of this suit is based on speculation. This is what gave birth to the suits in 2014 and 2015, the whole process is aimed at stoping the extradition process.
“It has been in the character of the plaintiff in several applications both at the Federal High Court, Abuja, and Court of Appeal, based on speculation and fear of being extradited. He also said the purpose of the preliminary objection is that the applicant’s suit is forum shopping as the suits are identical, the substance of the reliefs sought are the same.
“Based on the supporting affidavit of the applicant’s motion, the applicant admitted that there is an indictment of an Illinois Court, USA”.
In urging the court to dismiss the suit for being abuse of court process, Mr. Sunday, who is Head of NDLEA Legal Department, further told the court that the applicant’s suit as presently constituted is haven the same parties and subjects matter, which is basically extradition.
He urged the court to dismiss the suit with substantive cost.
Also, Mr. Tolulope Mukolu, counsel to AGF, while aligning himself with the submissions of the DSS and NDLEA, told the court that the applicant failed to exhibits any letter written by AGF requesting the America government to commence extradition process against the applicant.
Mukolu also told the court the Buruji’s suit is speculative, apprehensive and abuse of court process. He also urge the court to dismiss it and award a punitive cost against the applicant.
Responding to the agencies’ counter-affidavits, Kashamu’s counsel, Mrs. Ijeoma Esom, urged the court to hold that her client’s suit is not an abuse of court Process as claimed by the respondents.
Kashamu’s lawyer also informed the court that in 2015, NDLEA with other security agencies, invaded the home of the applicant with 50 armed men, while they were all in court, saying that, that was what led to 2015’s suit.
Esom said the lawlessness of the NDLEA and AGF is what brought about the present suit against the respondents.
She said, “We are here because the fifth respondent (AGF) wrote to USA authority inviting US government to bring request for the extradition of the applicant. The applicant then saw it as illegal for AGF to invite America government for his extradition.
“That is why we are here. I urged the court to hold that the suit is not abuse of court process and dismiss the objection of the respondents”.
After listened to the submissions of all parties, Justice Chukwejekwu Aneke, adjourned the matter till April 29, for judgement.