Cover Stories, Politics

BURUJI KASHAMU LEAVES HOSPITAL,  Set for June 9 Senate inauguration, As court restrains NDLEA, AGF

FILE - In this Sunday, Oct, 12, 2014 file photo, Buruji Kashamu attends a primary election event for Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja, Nigeria. On Saturday, May 23, 2015, drug agents surrounded the house of the senator-elect wanted by the United States in a nearly 20-year-old heroin deal that was the alleged basis for the TV hit "Orange is the New Black." (AP Photo)

The expectations from some political quarters in the country that the embattled Senator-elect, Prince Buruji Kashamu will miss Tuesday, June 9, 2015 National Assembly inauguration has ended a nightmare as Federal High Court, Lagos had on Monday, June 8, stopped the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) from arresting or harassing the Ijebu Igbo, Ogun born politician pending the determination of all the pending applications before the court.

Breaking the news to ENCOMIUM Weekly on Monday, June 8, 2015, via a text, Kashamu’s spokesperson, Austin Oniyokor said, “The Federal High Court, as per Hon. Justice Ibrahim Buba, for the umpteenth time this Monday, June 8, 2015, restrained the Attorney-General and the NDLEA from arresting or harassing Senator-elect, Prince Buruji Kashamu on the basis of any warrant of arrest or proceeding with any extradition proceedings before any court until the determination of all the pending applications before the court. All applications to be heard on Friday, June 19, 2015.”

However, Oniyokor stressed that the statement by the court doesn’t mean it has stopped hearing on the case. Rather, it only suspended any further action by the NDLEA and AGF pending the hearing or court contempt proceedings coming up on Friday, June 19, 2015.”

Asked to comment on Kashamu’s health condition at the moment, he reacted, “Prince Buruji Kashamu has been discharged from the hospital since Friday, June 5, 2015. His health is better now. We’re even preparing for Tuesday, June 9, 2015 swearing-in ceremony in Abuja.”

Meanwhile, the NDLEA said it had served the Senator-elect for Ogun East Senatorial district a notice by the US Government, demanding his extradition for drug trafficking offences.

The service was said to have been made on Monday, June 1, 2015, in suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/479/2015 with a copy made available to the Chief Judge, Federal High Court. In a statement by NDLEA spokesman, Ofoyeju Mitchel, the step was taken to show respect for the law.

The statement reads, “In an application made to the Chief Judge, Federal High Court, Abuja, in suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/479/2015, the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation is seeking the extradition of Buruji Kashamu to answer alleged drug trafficking charges. This is in line with the Extradition Act CAP, E25 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 (as modified by Extradition Act Modification Order, 2014). The notice of the suit was officially served on Kashamu by the NDLEA on June 1, 2015.

This claim was, however, quashed by Oniyokor, adding it’s not only laughable but false as the notice was not properly served.

“The triumphant announcement by the NDLEA officials that they have served Prince Kashamu with the extradition proceedings is not only laughable but false. He has not been served. Rather a copy of the process was dropped in our office in Lagos on Monday, June 1, 2015.

“So, we shall deal with it in accordance with the law. In the mean time, the NDLEA should be warned to stay away because it has no role to play in the current proceedings. And if we should discover that the body has usurped the functions of the Attorney-General of the Federation, we shall certainly make an issue of it”, he was quoted to have said.

The agency, whose operatives laid siege to Kashamu’s Lekki, Lagos home for six days from Saturday, May 23 to Thursday, May 28, 2015, were ordered to vacate the residence of the billionaire businessman cum politician who had confined himself in his bathroom throughout the period he was placed under house arrest by the narcotics agency.

–              TADE ASIFAT

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