By Sandra Umeh
A Federal High Court in Lagos has now fixed June 6, to reopen hearing in a suit by Sen. Buruji Kashamu, seeking to stop his extradition to the U.S., on alleged drug related charges.
Kashamu, who is Senator representing Ogun East Senatorial District at the National Assembly, had in his suit labelled FHC/L/CS/930/2018, joined the following as respondents:
The Inspector General of Police, Commissioner of Police Lagos Police Command, Director General State Security Service (DSS), National Drug law Enforcement Agency NDLEA, and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF)
He is urging the court to restrain the respondents and their agents from arresting or detaining him, in any manner whatsoever, or interfering with his right to personal liberty and freedom of movement.
Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke had since taken arguments in the suit from respective parties after which the court had reserved judgment until April 29.
On April 29, judgment could not be delivered in the suit as the period fell within the Easter vacation, and the court did not sit.
The matter was consequently, adjourned until May 10.
On May 10, Mr Ichakpa Oigoga, was the only counsel who appeared on the side of the defence, and he announced appearance for the NDLEA.
The court had then asked him if he was aware of a letter written by applicant seeking to reopen trial, and when he told the court that he was not aware.
Justice Aneke had then asked the registrar to show him a copy of the letter, adding that since a letter had already been presented, the court had a duty to hear parties.
After reading the letter, Oigoga informed the court that defence would file its counter affidavit in opposition.
The Court had consequently, adjourned the case for hearing.
At the resumed hearing of the case, Kashamu’s lawyer, Mrs Ifeoma Esom, informed the court of plaintiffs motion seeking to reopen hearing in the suit.
She told the court that the application was based on the discovery of new facts which she said would assist the court in doing justice in the suit.
In response NDLEA counsel. Mr J.N Sunday, admitted service of the application and told the court that he had already filed its response.
Aneke consequently set down the case for hearing on June 6.
In the new application, Kashamu is praying the court to reopen hearing which had already been concluded in the matter.
Plaintiffs counsel said that the application is predicated on the recent discovery of the Extradition (Amendment) Act 2018, which came into effect on Nov. 6, 2018.
She avers that it would be relevant in doing substantial justice in the matter.
According to plaintiff, the Extradition (Amendment) Act 2018 provides that: where a claim of mistaken identity is raised in an extraction case and no evidence is led to satisfactorily rebut the claim, the court shall dismiss the application for extradition order and discharge the defendant.
n a supporting affidavit, the applicant avers that by a newspaper publication, the Attorney General of the Federation was reported to have said that the U.S. Government had been told to make fresh request for his extradition, after the former proceedings were dismissed.
He averred that, in a proceeding instituted in England by the US authorities between 2002 and 2003, it was established that he was not the one implicated in the alleged narcotics offence committed in the US in 1994.
He said that consequently, he was not the person sought after by the US authorities.
Kashamu, is therefore, urging the court to restrain the respondents and their agents from arresting or detaining him, in any manner whatsoever, or interfering with the applicants’s right to personal liberty and freedom of movement
Meanwhile in a preliminary objection, deposed to by one Kareem Olayinka, the NDLEA averred that authorities of the United States are currently seeking to extradite the applicant to their country, to answer charges relating to Heroine trafficking.
He said that the U.S. government then made a request to the Nigerian government, for the applicant to be extradited sometime in May 2015.
The Agency said that since Kashamu got wind of the extradition request, he has filed multiplicity of law suits relating to the issue.
He averred that in all these actions the basic relief sought, is a restraining order against the NDLEA, from arresting and extraditing him to the US.
According to the NDLEA, this suit does not disclose any cause of action against the respondent, adding that the multiplicity of the action by the applicant against the NDLEA, is intended to divert its energy and attention from discharging its mandate to the nation.
He, avers therefore, that the NDLEA needs the protection of the court to stop this trend, as the applicant is only engaged in shopping for a forum that will grant his desired reliefs.
The Agency is therefore, asking the court to dismiss the suit.