Posted by: Precious Igbonwelundu


. Protesters, agency barricade neighbourhood

Despite an order of court directing them to vacate, officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on Thursday continued the siege on the Lekki, Lagos home of Senator-elect, Prince Buruji Kashamu.
Over 40 armed personnel including hooded men were sighted at different streets leading to Kashamu’s home located at Ladipo Omotesho Cole, by Marwa in Lekki Phase one, depriving residents and passersby their right of way. Buruji-Kashamu
The fierce looking personnel who turned back reporters despite being presented with identity cards, said they were following orders to restrict movement in and out of the busy street.
There was also an altercation between the officials and a man who claimed he was a resident in the neighbourhood.
The angry man was seen arguing with the personnel for refusing him to take the normal route to his apartment, despite pointing at his house, which was not far from the barricade.
Meanwhile, scores of Kashumu’s loyalists barricaded the other end of the road, protesting what they term “the disregard for ruke of law by the enforcement agency”.
Clad in black and chanting in solidarity for the Senator-elect, the crowd most of whom said they were from Ogun State, decried the continuous siege on Kashamu’s residence despite court ruling and judgment ordering the agency to vacate.
Their protest further compounded the discomfort of residents and motorists as they completely grounded the only part of the road unmanned by NDLEA officials.
Carrying placards with inscriptions such as “NDLEA respect the rule of law, Nigeria is not a Banana Republic; release Buruji Kashamu; vacate Kashamu’s house….”, some of the protesters said they were unhappy because the house arrest of the Senator-elect has negatively affected the well being of their families.
According to one Foluke Salami, who claimed she was a widow and coordinator of persons living with HIV/AIDS in Ijebu North, they usually received money, drugs and other food items from Kashamu every Thursday.
She said she was greatly disappointed at the way the law enforcement agency was going about the whole issue, adding that they have not been able to gain access into his residence.
“Today is Thursday and we are supposed to collect money for our children. Every Thursday we come from Ogun state to collect money from Kashamu.
“He takes care of widows and those living with HIV. Since 2005 when I knew my status as person living with HIV, Kashamu has been there for us. I am the coordinator of those living with HIV. He is accessible. He does not stop us from entering the house anytime we come but today, these people did not even allow us close to the house.
“We are therefore using this medium to protest the continued seige of the NDLEA in his premises, after a court order barring them from staying,” she said.
At the time The Nation visited (around 2pm), the protesters were threatening to continue their blockage of the other side of the route unless the NDLEA personnel leave their “man”.
Kashamu’s lawyer, Ajibola Oluyede who was sighted driving out, disclosed that the operatives denied him access into the premises.
He told reporters that the over 12 officials stationed inside his client’s compound told him he could not be allowed in.
He further disclosed that Kashamu’s relatives have also been denied access into the compound, whereas, all those who live with him have been put in one room and closely watched.
According to Oluyede, Kashamu has only had liquid since Saturday, May 23, and has not been allowed to see his doctor despite complains of heart palpitation and other health related issues.
“We do not even know whether the masked men in my client’s bedroom are Nigerians or foreigners. We do not know who they are because they don’t even talk.
“They record all my conversation with my client on video and audio. And they follow us around with their guns.
“In the night, they would go on the roof. The family members are traumatised and are trying to adjust and live a semi normal life. All of them are sleeping in one room at night while the masked men watch over them.
“The Police have been served but I don’t know why they have not intervened to enforce the order of court. The next step is that we are trying to reach the Inpsector-General of Police to find out why he has refused to intervene.
“I heard him say he had not been served the order of the court. But we have his stamp of receipt that they have received it. The bailiff of the court and my chamber have served them. What then is stopping them?
“What they (NDLEA) are doing is illegal. What the chairman of NDLEA is doing is illegal. NDLEA is a statutory office and he can’t refuse to obey the court. If he says he will not obey the order of the court, it is like saying he does not recognise the office of the NDLEA.
“This is a criminal contempt of court. Why is the Police watching? If someone is saying that the order of the court is inconsequential such person should be arrested immediately.
“What about the DSS, are they not worried that this could lead to a coup de etat? It is the police that will enforce the court warrant of arrest, not the NDLEA.
“Extradition is not the business of the NDLEA but that of the court. If the court says vacate, it should be respected. The court said come to court with the warrant of arrest, only the Attorney-General came but the NDLEA did not. They drove the bailiff away thrice…
“We are taking legal steps because we cannot carry arms and wage war against them. We do not have control of arms and cannot dislodge them. We are trying to put pressure on the IGP to enforce the court order,” said Oluyede.

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