From Yemi Oyeyemi, Abuja
The desperate battle by a former Senator to be extradited to the United States to answer to the courts there for alleged drug-related offences is getting even more desperate.
While awaiting the Supreme Court to speak finally on the matter, he has filed three fresh human rights suits in three high courts of co-ordinate juraddiction.
On June 10, the apex Supreme Court will resume hearing in an appeal filed by Senator Buruji Kashamu to stop the federal government from extraditing him to the United States of America (USA).
Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) are the respondents in the suit instituted by Kashamu to stop the execution of two Appeal Court judgments granted against him and in favour of the federal government.
The fresh hearing date has been communicated by the court through issuance of hearing notices to the three parties involved in the legal tussle.
The Apex Court is to determine the validity of the two judgments delivered in favour of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) by the Lagos division of Court of Appeal on May 4 last year.
Kashamu had in his notice of appeal to Supreme Court complained that the Court of Appeal erred in law by voiding and setting aside the two judgments of the Federal High Court, Abuja which barred Federal Government from going ahead with his extradition.
The embattled senator is praying the Apex Court to set aside the decisions of the Court of Appeal as they affected him.
But the AGF, who is acting on behalf of the Federal Government, has joined issues with him with a counter-prayer that the Apex Court should uphold the judgments of the Court of Appeal which cleared coast for his extradition.
The AGF claimed that the Appeal Court was right in setting aside the judgments of the High Court because they were based on hearsay evidence of Kashamu before the court.
The AGF urged the Supreme Court to allow the judgments of the Court of Appeal to enable the Federal government extradite the Senator to the USA to prove his innocence or otherwise in the hard drug criminal charge filed against him by the American government since 2015 when he was alleged to have escaped to Nigeria.
One of the senior counsel in the Senator’s legal team, Mr. Olusegun Odubela SAN confirmed in Abuja that the Senator and the Federal Government have shifted their legal battle on the extradition to the Supreme Court adding that Kashamu is challenging the validity of the two judgments of the Court of Appeal.
Legal luminary, Prince Lateef Fagbemi SAN is leading the legal team of the Senator, while Chief Emeka Ngige SAN is leading the Federal Government legal team at the Apex Court.
However in spite of his appeal to Supreme Court, Senator Kashamu has again filed three fresh fundamental human rights enforcement suits at the Federal High Court in Abuja and Lagos where he is praying the court to bar the federal government from extraditing him.
One of the fresh suits is pending before Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed while the second one is pending before Justice Okon Abang both of federal high court Abuja and had been slated for June 20 for adoption of final addresses.
The third fresh suit instituted in the Lagos division of the federal high court is pending before Justice Chukwuchefu Aneke.
Justice Mohammed had in a ruling on ex-parte motion of Kashamu refused to grant order of interim injunction against the federal government.
The judge in the ruling delivered on May 30 refused to stop the execution of the two judgments secured by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice against the senator that represented Ogun East Senatorial district in the senate.
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.
The Court of Appeal had on May 4 cleared the coast for the federal government to extradite the senator, who had engaged government in a long drawn legal battle since 2014.
The appellate court in the two separate judgments voided and set aside all orders made by a Federal High Court between 2014 and 2017 restraining the government from proceeding with the extradition.
Justice Joseph Ikyeghi in the judgments marked CA/L/1030/15 and CA/L/1030A/15 in the appeal filed by the AGF held that the orders granted Kashamu by Justice Okon Abang were invalid and unknown to laws because they were based on hearsays and speculations by Senator Kashamu.
The unanimous judgments were prepared by Justice Ikyeghi and were 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 relying unduly 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.