Justice Chukwujekwu, Joseph Aneke, of the Federal High Court, Lagos has fixed June 6, for the hearing of an application filed by the senator representing Ogun East senatorial district of Ogun State, Buruji Kashamu.
The senator in the application is asking for the reopening of his suit against the Attorney General of the Federation ( AGF) and six others.
The suit was instituted by Kashamu on his attempt to stop his extradition to the United State of America (USA) to face drug-related charges.
Other respondents in the suit are the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Department of State Security (DSS) and Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF).
At the resumed hearing of the matter Kashamu’s lawyer, Mrs. Ifeoma Esom, informed the court of his motion seeking to reopen hearing in the suit.
She told the court that her client’s motion to reopen the matter was based on the discovery of new facts which would assist the court in doing justice to the matter.
Responding, Mr. J .N Sunday, NDLEA’s Director of Legal, admitted service of the application and told the court that he had already filed his response to it.
Sunday, however, called the attention of the court to the fact that the presence of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) office is very important in the hearing of the application, adding that he doubted if the AGF was served with notice of hearing.
Based on Sunday’s submission and the agreement of parties the judge adjourned the matter to June 6, 2019, for the hearing of the application.
In the new application, Kashamu is praying the court to reopened hearing which had already been concluded in the matter. Esom said the application was predicated on the recent discovery of the Extradition (Amendment) Act 2018 which came to effect on November 6, 2018, and which would be relevant to do substantial justice to the matter.
According to Esom, the Extradition (Amendment) Act 2018 provides: “Where a claim of mistaken identity is raised by a person who is a defendant in an extraction case and no evidence is led by the plaintiff or the requesting county to satisfactorily rebut the claim of mistaken identity as raised by the defendant, the court shall dismiss the application for extradition order and accordingly order the defendant discharged.”
However, NDLEA in its counter-affidavit to Kashamu’s motion said the applicant had never been exonerated of complicity of any crime by any court in Nigeria, the US or the UK, adding that both the British and Nigeria court never exonerate the applicant of any charge.
That suit FHC/L/49/2010, had nothing to do with extradition as same was instituted as a result of a petition dated December 18, 2009, headed ‘Concerned Citizens of Ogun State’ alleging the commission of various criminal offences by the applicant.
NDLEA also stated that the amendment contained in Section 6A of the Extradition (Amendment) Act 2018 was published in an official gazette and that the court could take judicial notice of same without having to reopened the argument in the suit.
It was further stated that section 6A of the Extradition, (Amendment) Act 2018 was not made to have retrospective effect and that same had no relevance or bearing to the judgement or decision of the Bow Street Magistrate Court in 2003 or any other judgement.
The defendant said the application was brought in bad fate and that same had no place in the adjudicatory process.
Kashamu in the suit marked FHC/L/CS/930/18, had asked the court for an order of perpetual injunction restraining all the respondents from arresting or detaining him in any matter whatsoever interfering with his personal liberty and freedom of movement on the basis of his lawyer’s letter dated May 23, 2018, wherein he protested the NDLEA’s invitation to USA to send a request for his extradition.
He had also urged the court for a declaration that the instructions given by the AGF to other respondents on May 25, 2018, in reaction to his letter dated May 23, 2018, wherein he protested the NDLEA’s invitation to the USA to send a request for his extradition to US, and the attempt and any further attempts by the first to fourth respondents to arrest him on the basis of the AGF’s said instructions were a breach of his fundamental rights to personal liberty and freedom of as guaranteed by Section 35 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and article 14 of the African Charter on human and people of Nigeria.
However, NDLEA in its preliminary objection filed before the court by its Legal Officers, J. N. Sunday and Ichakpa Oigoga, had urged the court to dismiss Kashamu’s suit for being incompetent, as it failed to disclosed any infringement of his right and for being an abuse of court processes.
The anti-narcotic agency in the affidavit in support of the preliminary objection deposed to by one of its litigation/exhibit officers, Kareem Olayinka, stated that the authority of the USA were currently seeking to have Kashamu extradited to their country to answer charges relating to the trafficking in heroin. And that the USA government had made the request sometime in May 2015.
The deponent also stated that since the applicant began to get wind of the extradition request, he had filed a multiplicity of law suits relating to the issue.
Among the suits filed by the include: suit numbers FHC/L/CS/508/14, FHC/L/CS 508/2015, FHC/L/CS/763/2015 and FHC/L/CS/479/2015, before Justice O. E. Abang, Justice Nasir Ibrahim Buba and Justice G. O. Kolawole, adding that the AGF successful prosecuted an appeal against the judgment of Justice O. E. Abang in both substantive and contempt case and obtained judgments setting aside the decisions of the lower court in appeal numbers CA/L/1030/2015 and CA/L/1030A/205.
He urged the court to dismiss Kashamu’s suit as it failed to disclose any cause of action against AGF, for violation of his rights and that the multiplicity of actions continuously filed and maintained by the applicant against NDLEA was intended to annoy and divert its energy and attention from discharging its mandate to the nation.
He also stated that it was apparent that Kashamu was only engaged in shopping for forum that would grant his desired relief by the multiplicity of his actions.