Abuja High Court Rules on Nigerian Govt Moves to Bundle Buruji Kashamu to the United States

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Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has stopped the Federal Government from extraditing Buruji Kashamu to the USA.

Kashamu, charged complicity in the illicit drug trade, is wanted by the United state government.

On Thursday, Justice Abang held that neither the Federal Government neither any one of its agents could validly initiate extradition proceedings against Kashamu because subsisting judgments as well as orders in favour of the complainant, which had continued to be undisputed.

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NAN reports that while Kashamu is the plaintiff in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/530/18, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) are defendants.

Abang noted that the judgment delivered by the Federal High Court, Lagos on Jan. 6, 2014 (in suit No:49/2010) and another judgment of July 1, 2016, given by the Federal High Court, Abuja (in suit No: 479/2015), which prohibited Kashamu’s extradition on account of the U.S. drug allegation, were still subsisting.

He held that Justice Kolawole’s judgment, in nullifying the earlier extradition proceedings, was based on two judgments of the Federal High Court in suits Nos: 49/2010 and 508/2015, declaring as unlawful all attempts to extradite Kashamu because of the judgements by two British courts which held that he was not the person involved in the drug crime in the U.S.

The judge noted that while the AGF successfully challenged the court’s decisions in suit 508/2015, which was set aside in the appeal marked: 1030 and 1030a on May 4, 2018, the AGF failed to appeal the other judgment in the suit No: 49/2010.

Abang said since the judgment, in suit No: 49/2010, which contained a specific order restraining the AGF from exercising his power of extradition under the Extradition Act, was not challenged, it remained alive along with the restraining order. The judge also held that since the subsequent judgment by Justice Kolawole was also not appealed, it remained subsisting and binding on all parties.

Abang set aside the letter written by Bodinga, dated July 14, 2016, on the grounds that neither the AGF nor his agent had the power under any law to apply to a foreign country, with which Nigeria has an extradition treaty, to bring a request for the extradition of a citizen of this country where that country has not made such an application.

The judge noted the decisions of the Court of Appeal in the two judgments, on which Justice Gabriel Kolawole was based, appeared conflicting.

He said the Court of Appeal’s decision of Sept. 20, 2018, dismissing the appeal marked: 479/2015, which was an appeal against the judgment in suit No: 49/2010 was the most recent decision, which he was bound to abide by.

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