Sen. Kashamu loses bid to stop his arrest, extradition to US

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The Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal, on Friday, upturned the verdict of a Federal High Court, Lagos, which perpetually restrained the arrest and extradition of Senator Buruji Kashamu to the United States (U.S.) and ruled that the coast is clear for security agencies to pick him up. The Appellate court held that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Senator, representing Ogun East in the National Assembly, was bound by the provisions of the law, and therefore, could be “arrested in deserving circumstances.”

Delivering the lead judgement on Friday, the presiding judge, Justice Yargata Nimpar, reversed the 2015 lower court’s ruling handed down by Justice Okon Abang. In his fundamental rights application before the lower court, Kashamu had sought for an order of perpetual injunction, restraining his arrest by the security agencies in Nigeria.

He had argued that his personal liberty was under threat “based on false defamatory content of an alleged politically-motivated petition.” The senator had consequently asked the court to issue an order of perpetual injunction, restraining the law enforcement agencies from arresting and transporting him to the United States over alleged drug offences.

Abang had granted the application and consequently, issued the restraining orders sought. Dissatisfied with the lower court’s verdict, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) had appealed the ruling of Justice Abang. The appellate court in its judgment on Friday dismissed the preliminary objection filed by Kashamu against the substantive appeals as lacking in merits.

The Appeal Court held that the appeal filed by the Attorney-General against the ruling of the lower court was not statute barred as contended and was meritorious. The court also set aside the orders of perpetual injunction granted in favour of Kashamu against the Nigerian government, the AG, the State Security Service, the Inspector-General of Police and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

The court held that the oral statements of threat of abduction and attempted transfer of Kashamu to the United States was not backed by concrete evidence and the grounds were insufficient. It ruled that the AGF, as the chief law officer of the country and the chief law officer of the cause of justice, has the constitutional and legal powers to enforce the provisions of the law.

Specifically, the appellate court faulted the lower court for granting the said injunction sought by the respondent, holding that same were based on mere speculation of abduction and kidnapping.

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