UPDATE: The Nigerian Senate has issued a statement refuting reports that it had taken steps to shield Senator Buruji Kashamu from extradition to the United States where is he wanted on drug-related offences.
In an e-mailed statement to The Trent on Tuesday evening, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi, the spokesperson, said that the report, which came from the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, is untrue.
“Our attention has been drawn to several online reports that claim that the Senate has halted the extradition of Senator Buruji Kashamu. That report is not correct,” the brief statement said.
“Please note that the Senate, following the report of the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, only resolved that ‘the courts be allowed to handle the various aspects of the case before them without any interference’.
“This explanation is simple, clear, and straight-forward,” the statement said.
PREVIOUSLY: The Nigerian Senate has asked National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, to drop plans to extradite Sen. Buruji Kashamu to the United States and allow Nigerian courts to handle issues.
This emanated from the report of the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions presented by chairperson of the committee, Senator Sam Anyanwu, at plenary on Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Presenting the report, Anyanwu recalled that Buruji had petitioned the Senate, alleging plans to extradite him to the U.S. over alleged drug-related offences.
He said “a law firm called TRLP represented by one Prince Ajibola Oluyele said he wrote the petition in his capacity as the Solicitor to Sen. Buruji for the intervention of the Senate.
“This he said was in view of continued breach of the 1999 Constitution by the NDLEA in collaboration with some politicians to extradite him to the U.S. for prosecution for alleged drug offences when he was in the U.S.
“The solicitor said the senator has no case to answer in the US or UK, and that the whole thing was a case of mistaken identity.’’
Anyanwu said that after thorough consideration of the petition, the committee recommended that courts in Nigeria be allowed to handle various aspects of the case before them without interference.
The President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, thereafter, put the recommendation to a voice vote and it was unanimously adopted by the lawmakers.
The lawmakers, therefore, asked the EFCC and other agencies involved in the extradition plan to drop and allow the judiciary in the country to deal with it.
US Court Rules Kashamu Can Be Extradited
The ruling meant that Kashamu could extradited from Nigeria to the US to answer to the charges.
The senator representing Ogun East constituency was alleged to have been the ringleader of a ’90s heroin cartel in Chicago, one of the biggest cities in the US.
Senator Buruji Kashamu had in April 2015 asked a district court to put a hold on his “abduction abroad by U.S. authorities”.
U.S. Appellate Court Judge Richard Posner on Monday, January 23, 2017 dismissed the complaint and upheld the ruling of the lower court.
According to the court ruling, the attempt by US agents to arrest Kashamu in coordination with Nigerian authorities cannot be termed “an attempted abduction”.
Although several persons indicted in the case had pleaded guilty, Kashamu maintains that his dead brother was responsible for the crimes he’s being accused of.
Kashamu’s case is the inspiration for the popular Netflix show, Orange is the New Black. The character Kubra Balik embodies his alleged crime history.
Kashamu is a controversial figure in Nigerian politics often at loggerheads with his party members. Recently, he slammed the election of Ekiti Governor Ayodele Fayose after he emerged as chairman of the People’s Democratic Party’s Governor’s Forum.
Editor’s Note: A previous version of the article was published with the headline, Senate Protects Senator Kashamu, Tells NDLEA To Drop Extradition Plans. The story has been updated with a statement from the Senate.