culled from Thisday Newspaper
By Tobi Soniyi , 02 July 2015.
A Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday dismissed an application for the extradition of the Senator representing Ogun-East senatorial district in the National Assembly, Buruji Kashamu, to the United States of America (USA), to face trial on alleged complicity in trafficking in illicit drugs.
The extradition application No. FHC/ABJ/CS/479/2015, which was filed before the court on May 28, 2015 by the immediate past Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), followed a request by the Embassy of the United States of America seeking the Nigerian government to surrender Kashamu to face a drug related charge before the United States District Court for the Northern Illinois, Eastern Division.
An affidavit deposed to by Assistant US Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, Diane MacArthur, attached to the extradition request from the US government was said to be dated April 27, 2015.
But in a ruling on Wednesday, Justice Gabriel Kolawole said he lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit because the judgment of the Lagos division of the Federal High Court which nullified the proceedings on June 8, 2015 and the same judgment affirmed by another judge of the same Lagos division had not been set aside by a Court of Appeal.
It will be recalled that Justice Okon Abang of the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court on June 8, 2015, had nullified the extradition proceedings which he said were initiated in contravention of an earlier order of the court.
Abang’s orders nullifying the proceedings were affirmed by Justice Ibrahim Buba in a ruling he delivered on June 23, 2015.
Though Justice Kolawole expressed reservations on the judgments by the judges in Lagos, which he described as “wild and audacious,” he held that it was the exclusive duty of the Court of Appeal to determine whether they were rightly or wrongly given.
Kashamu’s counsel, Mr. Ajibola Oluyede, had on June 25, 2015, when the case came up for the first time before Justice Kolawole, urged the court to dismiss the extradition application in the light of the judgments delivered in Lagos.
By the US government’s charge against him, Kashamu allegedly conspired with others to intentionally import “and did import” into the United States” quantities of mixtures containing heroin, between 1992 and 1995, an offence that is said to contravene section 952(a) of Title 21, United States Code, and punishable under section 960 of the same law.
The penalty for the offence on conviction under the law according to the charge is an imprisonment of not more than 10 years or a fine of up to $10 million in the case of an individual, or both.