Saturday, May 9, 2015

Court decides Kashamu’s extradition suit May 27

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has fixed May 27, 2015 to decide on a fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by the senator-elect for Ogun East Senatorial District, Mr. Buruji Kashamu, seeking protection against the alleged plot to extradite him to the United States.

Kashamu, in the said suit, accused the Inspector-General of Police and 11 others of plotting to abduct and forcibly transport him to the US to face trial on alleged drug-related offences.

He alleged that he had uncovered plans by the defendants doing the bidding of former President Olusegun Obasanjo to arrest him during his swearing in as a senator and to transport him to the US in a private plane to face trial before Judge Norgle.

He therefore prayed the court to declare the alleged abduction and extradition plot as an infringement on his fundamental human right to liberty, freedom of association and freedom of movement as provided by sections 35, 40 and 41 of the Constitution.

Moving the application on Friday, Kashamu’s lawyer, Dr. Alex Izinyon, said his client had rushed to court to seek protection because “when you see a danger coming, you don’t have to wait until it takes place.”

He said the law allowed an applicant to seek the court’s protection when he sees that a danger “has been, is being or is likely to be” unleashed on him, adding that Kashamu fell within the perimeter of “likely to be.”

Besides, Izinyon argued that none of the 12 respondents sued had controverted the alleged plot to abduct his client.

But counsel to the Inspector-General of Police and the Interpol National Central Bureau, Mr. David Igbodo, said Kashamu failed to show any proof of the alleged move to abduct and extradite him.

Igbodo, who described Kashamu’s action as speculative, urged the court to dismiss the suit.

“My Lord, what the 1st and 5th respondents are simply saying is that this application is speculative. The 1st and 5th respondents have not made, are not making and are not likely to make any attempt to abduct the applicant as alleged by the applicant.”

Igbodo added that abduction is a criminal offence, which the IGP, as the foremost law enforcement agent in the country, would never engage in.

The other respondents who, through their counsel, urged the court to dismiss Kashamu’s suit were the Chairman, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission; Director General, Department of State Service; and the Attorney General of the Federation.

Others were the Clerk of the National Assembly; the National Security Adviser to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission; Nigeria Customs Services; the Nigeria Immigration Service; and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.

Earlier, Justice Okon Abang refused an application by the counsel for the Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr. Joshua Okah, to join Obasanjo as a respondent in the suit.

Okah said, “My Lord, we have perused the affidavit in support of the applicant’s originating summons and we observed that Chief Olusegun Obasanjo featured prominently and serious allegations were levelled against him; we have brought this application that he should be joined as a necessary respondent for the complete and effective determination of this matter.”

But Izinyon, who described the application as an abuse of court processes, said it was an aberration for a respondent in a suit to seek to join another respondent.

Ruling on the arguments, Abang upheld Izinyon’s argument and dismissed the application to join Obasanjo as a respondent in Kashamu’s suit.

Kashamu is seeking, among other reliefs, an order of the court directing the IGP to “provide a security detail of at least six armed police officers to protect the applicant at all times of the day and to prevent (him from) any attack or abduction.”

He also prayed for an order directing the Clerk of the National Assembly “to accord the applicant every facility, right and privileges due to a senator-elect of the Federal Republic of Nigeria until he takes his oath of office and thereafter as is due to a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

He prayed the court to restrain all the respondents and their agents from preventing him from entering the National Assembly hall.

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