A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Monday, June 8, 2015 has overruled a provisional warrant of arrest issued by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency seeking to extradite the Ogun East senator-elect, Mr. Buruji Kashamu, to the United States of America to face trial for alleged drug-trafficking offences.
The court also gave an order halting the extradition proceedings instituted in an application filed by the NDLEA before the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on Kashamu.
Kashamu, through his lawyers, Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN), and Mr. Ajibola Oluyede, secured separate orders from both Justices Okon Abang and Ibrahim Buba of the Lagos Division of the court.
Justice Ibrahim Buba declared that the provisional warrant of arrest was obtained without proper jurisdiction because an order was in existence barring NDLEA and the AGF from taking any further steps on the extradition process.
Justice Okon Abang , on his part, awarded a cost of N10,000 against the NDLEA in favour of the applicant. The same amount was also awarded against the AGF, NSA and the NSCDC.
Justice Abang also overruled the preliminary objections raised by the NDLEA and the AGF. The objections raised by the bodies were that the application was an abuse of court’s process and the court had no function to perform since judgement has been delivered and that there was no personal service of the application on the NDLEA Chairman, Ahmadu Giade.
Justice Abang in his ruling on the fundamental human rights enforcement suit dismissed these preliminary objections of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) while, Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), did not file any response.
The judge said for the purpose of determining whether or not a reasonable cause of action has been disclosed, he is enjoined by law to accept the facts as presented by the applicant.
On the objections of the NDLEA, the court held that the insinuations by its Chairman, Ahmadu Giade, that he is not a jurisdistic person did not hold water.The court held that the NDLEA Chairman is a natural person that can sue and be sued. Justice Abang also dismissed objections raised by the AGF, NSA and the NSCDC.
The court said the applicant’s claims were in line with the provisions of Chapter 4 of the 1999 constitution. ”The claims of the applicant are fundamental rights claims and the court has the jurisdiction to them”, the judge held.
A cost of N10,000 was eventually awarded against the NDLEA in favour of the applicant. The same amount was also awarded against the AGF, NSA and the NSCDC.
The court thus has restrained the IGP, SSS, NDLEA, NCS and the AGF from taking any step from arresting Kashamu based on a petition linking him to a drug offence.
Justice Abang held that the order is still subsisting since there has been no order staying its execution. ”The respondents cannot in the exercise of their statutory powers, without appealing the earlier judgement, act on any application seeking the extradition of the applicant,” the judge said.
The judge however did not grant all the reliefs sought by the applicant such as those relating to the involvement of former Nigerian President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, in his alleged planned arrest.
The judge noted that the alleged role of Chief Obasanjo was mentioned in several places in the applicant’s motion and so it is compelling that the court should hear from Obasanjo.
”Obasanjo ought to have been joined and this would have helped the court in deciding whether or not to grant the reliefs. The court cannot agree with the applicant that Chief Obasanjo colluded with others to abduct him,” the judge held.
The court also turned down Kashamu’s request for a perpetual injunction against the respondents from preventing him from assuming his position as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The court on this stated that the respondents could not be restrained perpetually from arresting the applicant. They were only restrained from arresting the applicant without a warrant of arrest and from forcefully extraditing the applicant without due recourse to the extradition act.
The court however ordered the IGP to protect him as other Nigerians and also restrained the IGP from withdrawing the security details currently attached to the applicant.
The court equally directed the Clerk of the National Assembly to accord the applicant all his entitlements as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.