A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party and senator-elect for Ogun East Senatorial District, Mr. Buruji Kashamu, has dragged the Chairman, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency and 11 others to court over an alleged plot to extradite him to the United States of America to face trial on alleged drug-related offences.
Kashamu, who instituted a fundamental rights enforcement action before a Federal High Court in Lagos, is seeking a declaration that the move to abduct and forcibly transport him to the United States of America amounted to a violation of his rights to liberty, freedom of association and freedom of movement as protected by sections 35, 40 and 41 of the Constitution
He alleged that the plot was a further move in the the political designs of former President Olusegun Obasanjo to ensure that he (Kashamu) was denied the opportunity of enjoying the mandate freely given to him to represent the people of Ogun East Senatorial District in the Senate.
Kashamu alleged that he had uncovered plans by Obasanjo to mastermind his arrest during his swearing in as a senator and to transport him to the US in a private plane to face trial before Judge Norgle.
Kashamu urged the court to declare as unlawful the alleged collusion between the 12 respondents and his political opponents, led by Obasanjo, to abduct and forcibly transport him to the US.
Apart from the NDLEA chairman, also joined as respondents in the suit marked FHC/L/CS/505/15 are the Inspector General of Police, Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Director General, Department of State Service; the Interpol National Central Bureau; and the Attorney General of the Federation.
Others are 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.
The senator-elect is seeking an order of the court directing the police IG 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 a court 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.
Kashamu, in a 92-paragraph affidavit deposed to by himself, explained that though he was incarcerated in Brixton Prisons in London between 1998 and January 10, 2013, he was however later discharged after Judge Tim Workman held that “the allegations of the US authorities against me with regards to importation of narcotics to the US was a case of mistaken identity.”
According to Kashamu, the judge had held that there was no prima facie case that Kashamu was the same person as one Alaji, who had been implicated by a group of drug traffickers apprehended in the US.
Kashamu exhibited a portion of the claimed judgement where the judge said he found that Kashamu had a brother, Alhaji Adewale Adeshina Kasamu, who bore a striking resemblance with him and who was the real co-conspirator in the said drug importation case in the US.
He said that after his release he returned to Nigeria and started business, adding that some lawsuits were later instituted against him in respect of debts owed to banks by his businesses, especially his cotton-ginning business in Cotonou, the Republic of Benin.
He, however, said he was lured into politics by members of the PDP in Ogun State, who were impressed by his philanthropic gestures through his “Omo-Ilu Foundation.”
But he said in the course of his political career he made some “powerful enemies” including Obasanjo, with whom he fell apart because of his stance for internal democracy in the PDP.
He claimed that recently Obasanjo had been pressurising the AGF to take steps to extradite him to the US even without a request from the US authorities.
He alleged that his lawyer, Prince Ajibola Oluyede, told him in October last year that Chief Godwin Obla (SAN), who was very close to the AGF, told Oluyede of a discussion in his presence between Obasanjo and the AGF, where Obasanjo boasted that he was making arrangements with some US officials in the region to have Kashamu abducted and flown in a private plane to the US.
Kashamu said he confirmed the plot himself through discreet enquiries.
Justice Okon Abang has adjourned till May 8, 2015 to take Kashamu’s fundamental rights enforcement application and the respondents’ preliminary objections.