By Jide Ajani,Evelyn Usman,Daud Olatunji,& Ifeanyi Okolie
Senator-elect, Ogun-East, Prince Buruji Kashamu, was said to have threatened to kill himself if officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) forced their way into his house, yesterday, claiming there was a court injunction against the NDLEA’s action. Some of his friends who claimed to have contacted him on phone between 7 and 9 am told Sunday Vanguard that Kashamu said he would remain indoors till Monday.
But the narcotic agency explained that the operatives mandate was to put the politician, who is also the Chairman, Organisation and Mobilisation Committee of the PDP in the South-West, under house arrest pending when he would appear in court on Monday. The NDLEA spokesman, Mitchel Ofoyeju , in a six paragraph statement, yesterday, said: “A special team of NDLEA has confined Ogun State senator-elect, Buruji Kashamu, to his Lagos residence pending his appearance in court on Monday, May 25, 2015 to perfect his extradition to the United States.
“The agency has commenced extradition procedures against Senator-elect Buruji Kashamu in line with the laws of country. He has been in contact with his attorneys and will appear in court on Monday.But Kashamu’s media aide, Mr Austine Oniypkor, described the siege on his principal’s house as illegal, dismissing the claim that the NDLEA had arrest warrant to that effect.
In a statement, Oniyokor said: “ Yes, at about 4:30am, some men, who claimed to be from the NDLEA, surrounded the Lekki Phase 1, Lagos residence of Prince Buruji Kashamu to allegedly effect his arrest following a purported extradition request from the US.
“This latest onslaught is a confirmation of the alleged plot to illegally abduct him in spite of the pending suit against this illegality. As a matter of fact, the court has ordered parties in the matter, including the NDLEA, to maintain the status quo until judgment is delivered on Wednesday, 27th May, 2015.
“We have confirmed that they do not have a warrant of arrest, just as the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice has said that it did not give any order to carry out this illegality. We have confirmed that this illegality is being designed and executed by Chief Bode George whose wife is the Director General of the NDLEA, all in a bid to score cheap political points.
“We urge all well meaning Nigerians to prevail on NDLEA, Chief George and his wife to toe the path of the rule of law and follow due process. Nigeria is not a Banana republic! The United States (US), being the bastion of democracy, the rule of law and due process should not lend itself to this kind of illegality”.
Kashamu had, of late, alleged a plot to abduct and extradict to the US to answer drug related charges, citing information leaked to his lawyer by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) close to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke.
His travails began shortly after he fell apart with former President Olusegun Obasanjo over the control of the leadership of the PDP in Ogun State.
Buruji had been in Obasanjo’s faction of the PDP against the then Ogun State governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, in 2008 .
After the emergence of President Goodluck Jonathan via the 2011 elections, he was appointed the Chairman of Organisation and Mobilisation Committee for Jonathan’s re-election in the South-West.
In his famous resignation letter from the PDP, Obasanjo said that as the Chairman of an anti-drug body in West Africa, he could not continue to be in a party where a wanted drug baron was the leader in his home state, in what many interpreted as veiled reference to Kashamu.
In late 2014, the former president had launched a book, ‘My Watch’, in which he described Kashamu as a fugitive.
The senator-elect went to court – the same way he had gone to court on several occasions-until he secured the control of PDP in Ogun State, obtaining an injunction restraining Obasanjo from selling the book.
The order has since been vacated.
Kashamu emerged as PDP senatorial candidate for Ogun East and was returned elected at the general elections.
Since his victory at the poll, the high profile politician has taken pre-emptive steps to forestall any attempt to ‘abduct’ him for extradition to the US.
On May 9, he sued the Inspector General of Police, IGP and nine other individuals for allegedly plotting his abduction.
In the suit filed at the Federal High Court, Lagos, the NDLEA Chairman; EFCC Chairman; Director General of the DSS; the Attorney General of the Federation were joined as co-respondents.
In an order made on April 17, the court directed an interim stay of all actions arising from the applicant’s claims to extradition.
The court ordered as follows: “In line with the provisions of the order (iv) rule 4 (c)(iv) of the Fundamental Rights’(Enforcement Procedure) Rules 2009, the Respondents herein shall in the interim stay all actions arising from the Applicant’s claims capable of intringing on his fundamental rights to personal liberty, freedom of movement and association pending the hearing and determination of the Applicant’s substantive application dated 14/4/2015.
(2)That the Court’s decision on the prayers 2 to 7 endorsed on the Applicant’s exparte application is hereby adjourned to abide the outcome of the substantive motion on notice dated 14/4/2015. (3)Prayer 1 endorsed on the Applicant’s exparte application dated 14/4/2015 deserves to succeed and it is accordingly grant as prayed. That the Applicant shall serve the originating processes and all other Court’s processes meant for service in this suit on the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th to 12th Respondents at Abuja, Federal Capital Territory Abuja outside the jurisdiction of this Court. (4)That the matter is hereby adjourned to the 4th May 2015 for hearing of the motion on notice 14/4/2015. Issued at Lagos, under the Seal of the Court and the Hand of the presiding Judge this 17th day of April, 2015″.
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