Be ready to defend yourself before High Court – NDLEA tells Kashamu
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency has advised the Senator-elect for Ogun-East senatorial district, Mr. Buruji Kashamu, to concentrate his effort on defending himself before the Federal High Court where he is expected to appear on Monday (today).
The agency reiterated that the decision to drag him before the court followed a formal request for his extradition by the United States.
In a statement by its Head of Public Affairs, Mr. Ofoyeju Mitchell, on Sunday, the NDLEA urged Kashamu to save his energy for the hearing of the extradition application.
Kashamu is the Chairman, Organisastion and Mobilisation Committee of the PDP in the South-West and he was a staunch supporter of President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election bid.
He fell out with former President Olusegun Obasanjo and teamed up with President Goodluck Jonathan during the battle for the control of the party in Ogun State.
The agency said it was wrong of Kashamu to finger Obasanjo and a leader of the PDP in Lagos State, Chief Bode George, as being behind his present travails.
According to the NDLEA, Kashamu had been on the wanted list of both the US Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement of the Department of Homeland Security.
The statement read in part, “According to an official report, Kashamu has been on the wanted list of both the US Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement of the Department of Homeland Security.
“Kashamu was indicted in the Northern District of Illinois, United States, on charges brought against him by ICE.
“According to the United States court documents, Kashamu in his days as the leader of a prolific heroin-trafficking ring based in Chicago, Illinois, was known as ‘god,’ ‘Daddy, and ‘Kasmal.’ He is wanted to stand trial for charges of conspiracy and importation of controlled substances, namely heroin, into the United States dating back to 1994.
“Kashamu, who holds dual Nigerian/Beninoise citizenship, has taken multiple pre-emptive actions to thwart US extradition efforts such as claiming that he was being mistaken for his deceased brother whom he claimed committed the alleged offences in the US.”
The statement also said that Kashamu had filed injunctions at courts in the Northern District of Illinois, United States, and in Nigeria to prevent his arrest and prosecution.
The NDLEA said, “These are issues that Kashamu should prepare to address rather than point accusing fingers at eminent elder statesmen who have no connection with the ongoing investigative process. The senator who was placed on house arrest at the weekend is expected to appear in court in less than 24 hours.
“We expect Kashamu, as a distinguished senator-elect, to demonstrate ample confidence in the Nigerian judicial system and stop the blame game.”
Meanwhile, armed NDLEA operatives have gained access into the residence of the embattled politician, where he has been confined to his bedroom.
His lawyer, Ajibola Oluyede, who spoke with our correspondent near the residence, on Sunday, said Kashamu had not been allowed to leave his bedroom since Saturday.
Oluyede said, “He has been locked inside the room while about 15 armed operatives are in the house. As I speak to you, I have not even seen him. We have only been talking through the door.
This is disheartening because his little children and his pregnant wife are all in the house with him.”
When asked to comment on the allegation that Kashamu threatened suicide, the lawyer said, “He is obviously traumatised but I wouldn’t say he is suicidal.”
Oluyede alleged that the NDLEA had no plan of taking Kashamu to court on Monday (today) but only later decided to do so because the media got involved.
“Their plan was to get him as early as 4am and put him on the plane to the United States. It was never their plan to take him to court. It was when the media reported the incident that they decided to take him to court,” he said.
About 15 patrol vehicles were seen blocking all entries that lead to Kashamu’s home while over 20 security agents were seen patrolling the street.
Residents of the estate were made to take alternative routes as all roads leading to Kashamu’s home were blocked.
In his reaction, the media aide to Kashamu, Austin Oniyokor, however, berated the drug agency, accusing it of being the mouthpiece of Obasanjo and George.
The statement said, “We do not know when the NDLEA becomes the spokespersons for Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Chief Bode George. We do not need them to tell us to address our issues.
“We are addressing our issues. We had told the court of the planned abduction of Kashamu and the NDLEA was represented. The court had given an order asking all the parties to stay action, pending the determination of the suit which had been fixed for Wednesday.”
Oniyokor explained that Kashamu refused to hand himself over to the NDLEA operatives, who stormed his Lagos residence on Ladipo Street, Lekki Phase 1, on Saturday, because they could not produce a warrant of arrest.
He said if the NDLEA provides a warrant of arrest against Kashamu, the PDP chieftain would “hand himself over to them but if not, he will not.”
But a member of PDP Board of Trustees, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, described the allegation by Kashamu that George was behind his travails as sad and ridiculous.
A statement by Babatope on Sunday said, “It is sad and ridiculous of Senator-elect, Chief Buruji Kashamu, to accuse Chief Bode George of being behind his current ordeal with the men of the NDLEA.
“This allegation is not true. I have known George for over 46 years and I know him never to go on a witch-hunt of anyone as a result of personal differences or disagreements. Though the wife of George is the Director-General of the NDLEA, he can never attack the person of Kashamu.
“I call on Kashamu to look somewhere else in locating those who might have been involved in his travails.”