Vacate Kashamu’s resience – Court orders NDLEA
Justice Ibrahim Buba has ordered the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency ( NDLEA) officials to vacate the residence of Prince Buruji Kashamu in Lekki, Lagos.
The court also directed the police and other law enforcement agencies to ensure that the order is enforced.
Giving the order on Tuesday, Justice Buba warned NDLEA Chairman and AGF to ensure the statusquo is maintained.
The Senator-elect on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party in Ogun State has been swimming in crisis since he challenged the former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo.
Kashamu is a financier of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Southwest. The United States said he has a pending case of heroine trafficking dating back to 1994 to answer, but he insists he is innocent.
Following the extradition request from the U.S., the NDLEA operatives stormed Kashamu’s residence in Lekki, Lagos on Saturday.
The siege was still on as at yesterday.
The NDLEA, in a statement yesterday by its spokesman Mitchel Ofoyeju, said the Ogun-East Senator-elect, “failed to appear in court from his house where he is being closely monitored by operatives of the NDLEA.”
He added that “the Agency is working hard to ensure that he submits himself to the due process of the law. His house remained cordoned by anti-narcotic officers pending his appearance in court.
“The extradition move by the NDLEA for Kashamu to answer drug trafficking charges is legal.
“The Agency has not violated his rights and will continue to work within the confines of the law.
“He has been assured that due process of the law shall be adhered to at every stage.
“The NDLEA is the appropriate government Agency to implement his extradition request and will diligently pursue the processes to a logical conclusion.
“It is expected that Kashamu will willingly submit himself to the laws of the country under which he seeks to serve as a senator.”
Justice Buba yesterday also ordered the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke and Chairman NDLEA Ahmadu Giade to appear before him today to explain why they should not be held for contempt for ‘invading’ Kashamu’s residence.
In an in-chamber ruling, the court declined to entertain the ex-parte motion and ordered Kashamu to put Adoke and Giade on notice to appear before him in order to be heard.
He ruled that the order was in view of the urgent nature of the matter and in light of subsisting judgment and court orders.
“In view of the urgent nature of this matter, and in light of subsisting judgment and court orders, instead of hearing an ex-parte application, the respondents are ordered to be put on notice to appear in court on May 26, at 12pm in order to be heard.
“And in view of subsisting judgment and court orders, time be and is hereby abridged for the respondents to appear. This order and the motion on notice shall be served unfailingly,” the order stated.
In a Motion on Notice for committal brought pursuant to order 35 of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2009, Oluyede had prayed the court to rule that the respondents are in criminal contempt of court for obstructing justice by the willful violation of a court judgment dated January 6, 2014.
He prayed the court to declare that the invasion, destruction of property, harassment, humiliation, arrest and detention of Kashamu by NDLEA at the instance of the AGF since Saturday, as well as any extradition proceedings commenced thereupon, constitute criminal contempt in view of the said judgment and another pending ruling before the Federal High Court.
Oluyede prayed a declaration that the actions of the respondents are illegal, null and void, praying the court for an order directing the immediate and unconditional release of Kashamu within two hours of the pronouncement, just as he urged the court for a restraining order against the respondents from further intimidating, harassing, laying siege or confiscating any of Kashamu’s properties.
He accused Giade of plot to preempt the judicial process by deploying about 50 fully armed NDLEA officials, pursuant to the verbal instruction of the AGF, to invade Kashamu’s home around 4am on May 23.
The lawyer claimed that the Senator-elect’s residence was burgled by the men who put him under house arrest.
“They broke his gate, doors, windows to gain entrance. Destroyed properties, harassed infant children and his pregnant wife, humiliated the applicant at gun point, arrested and detained him in his house after attempts to forcibly ship him off to the US truncated by media exposure”.
Oluyede said his client decided to file a committal charge after NDLEA failed to bring Kashamu in court as they earlier promised.
He accused the agency of not having any arrest warrant, just as he claimed that the NDLEA had filed no application before any court before unlawfully invading his client’s home.
“Extradition procedure requires submission of the request to the court for the court to go through and exercise its discretion whether or not, the person being requested should be extradited. That is what will give us confidence that lawful duty is being carried out.
“In this case, no warrant was shown. They don’t have any warrant for arrest. Go to the registry now, you will see a gentleman from NDLEA filing application for a provisional warrant of arrest. That is to show you that they do not have any extradition order,” said Oluyede.
Kashamu’s supporters invaded the court premises protesting the siege to his residence.
Some of the inscriptions include: “UK court discharged him; Illegal extradition; Kashamu’s life is being threatened; We want due process followed; It is high time we stopped illegality; Kashamu’s arrest is a slap to human rights.”
The protesters who said they came from Ijebu-Igbo decried the ‘persecution’ of their Senator-elect, calling on the authorities to leave him alone.
Former Ogun State People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Secretary, Yemi Akinwunmi who spoke on behalf of the protesters said Kashamu brightened their hope and saved the party from complete death in the state.
“In the process of liberating us, making us relevant in the politics of Nigeria, he stepped on one or two toes. They are the ones now on him, not America.”