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Senator Kashamu loses bid to stop execution of judgment on extradition

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*Court refuses plea to stop AGF, NDLEA

A fresh push by embattled Ogun East Senator, Prince Buruji Kashamu, to stop being hauled to the United States of America to answer for drug-related offences has failed.

He will have to wait and pray until July 2, 2018, in the hope that he is not picked and extradited by the government, because that is when a high court in Abuja has fixed for all parties to appear before it to plead their positions.

A Federal High Court in Abuja last week refused bluntly to stop the execution of the two judgments secured by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice for the extradition of the senator.

The court held that granting the request by Kashamu to stay the appellate court decisions against him in an ex-parte application will be against the rule of law and natural justice.

In a ruling on ex-parte application filed against the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed, rather asked the embattled senator to put the AGF and NDLEA on notice in respect of his fresh suit.

Justice Mohammed noted that since what the senator sought in his originating summon was to prevent his extradition, it will be unfair against the AGF and NDLEA to put the extradition on hold without going into the merit of the whole issue as contained in the originating summon.

The Judge therefore declined to stop the implementation of the appeal verdict delivered on May 4 this year.

Kashamu through his counsel Dr. Alex Izinyon SAN had in the ex-parte motion, argued that he was afraid and apprehensive that the federal government may likely pick him and extradite him to USA on the strength of the Court of Appeal Judgments.

He told Justice Mohammed that if the extradition is executed via the judgments of the appellate court, his fundamental right to freedom of liberty will be jeopardized.

The senior lawyer argued that if senator Kashamu is picked by the federal government through the NDLEA; no court in Nigeria will have jurisdiction to safe him because he (Kashamu) would have been flown to a foreign country.

Izinyon SAN insisted that there is likelihood now of his client being picked by the Federal Government and the NDLEA adding that his fundamental human rights will be breached in the process.

But Justice Mohammed stood his ground that his court was not persuaded to stop the appellate court judgment but will rather wish that Kashamu puts both AGF and NDLEA on notice to show cause on why the two Judgments against the senator should not be stayed from execution.

The Judge consequently fixed July 2 for the parties involved to appear before him.

The Court of Appeal had on May 4 cleared the coast for the federal government for the federal government to extradite the senator, who had engaged government in a long drawn legal battle since 2014

The appellate court in a landmark judgment voided and set aside all orders made by a Federal High Court between 2014 and 2017 restraining the government from proceeding with the extradition.

In a judgment in an appeal filed by the AGF Justice Joseph Ikyeghi held that the orders granted Kashamu by Justice Okon Abang were invalid, nonsensical and unacceptable to laws because they were based on hearsays and speculations by Senator Kashamu.

The unanimous judgment was prepared by Justice Ikyeghi and was delivered by Justice Yargata Nimpar.

The court held that the hearsay that a former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was instigating the extradition was not established under any law.

The appeal court said that an affidavit deposed to by the senator on the issue was worthless and not in compliance with Evidence Act because the senator himself claimed that he was told by several persons who were not called to testify in court.

Justice Ikyeghi held that Justice Abang in his two judgments on the issue erred in law by playing undue reliance on affidavit that offended Evidence Act to give judgment against the Federal government.

Consequently, the order of injunction stopping the extraction process was voided and set aside.

Another order which terminated the extradition process in the second judgment of Justice Abang was also set aside, having been issued in error by the Federal high court.

Justice Ikyeghi had agreed with counsel to the Federal Government Chief Emeka Ngige SAN that a statutory body like the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) can only be prohibited from performing its statutory functions based on facts and not hearsays and speculations as in the instant case.

The Minister of Justice had in the appeal case argued by his counsel Chief Emeka Ngige SAN prayed the Court of Appeal to set aside the two Federal High Court Judgments obtained by Kashamu against his extradition by government and its security agencies.

The contention of government primarily was that the senator got the two judgments in the lower court from Justice Okon Abang on mere hearsay and speculation to frustrate his extradition as requested by the America government.

Specifically, the AGF claimed in the appeal that Kashamu suppressed facts before the High Court to secure the restraining order against the Federal Government.

The AGF also averred that Justice Abang erred in law by issuing order in favour of the senator without evaluating the documentary evidence placed before him during the hearing and urged the appeal court to void the two judgments and set them aside.

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