Appeal Court overturns order prohibiting Kashamu’s arrest

Kashamu

The Court of Appeal, Lagos Diviision, on Friday nullified a Federal High Court (FHC) ruling, prohibiting the arrest of Buruji Kashamu by Nigerian law enforcement agencies.
The appeal panel, led by Yargata Nimpar, declared that the Senator was not above the law and that he could be arrested if necessary.
Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, issued the prohibiting order in 2015 after the senator, representing the Ogun East Senatorial District, approached the court for enforcement of his fundamental rights over an alleged uncovered plot by the security agencies to abduct and extradite him to the United States.
Kashamu had earlier been declared wanted in the U.S. to come and answer for his alleged involvement in a drug-related case, although he had continued to deny the allegations, saying it was, at worse, a case of mistaken identity.
In May 2015, the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) laid siege to his Lagos residence for six days in a bid to arrest and send him to the U.S. to face the charges. The senator reportedly locked himself inside a toilet and refused to surrender himself to federal authorities for the whole period the seige lasted.
His lawyers successfully prevailed on Mr Abang to grant an order forbidding the NDLEA from carrying out the arrest. The agency subsequently withdrew its personnel, ending the six-day siege.
The office of the Attorney-General of the Federation filed several submissions before the FHC, seeking to arrest Mr Kashamu for extradition. But the attempts were frustrated by several injunctions granted by Mr Abang, prompting the AGF to seek redress at the Court of Appeal.
Kashamu had argued before the FHC that there were plots to arrest him and take him to the U.S. over a matter for which he had been cleared by judicial authorities in the United Kingdom between the late 1990s and early 2000s.
But U.S. authorities insisted that Kashamu must come to the country to face drugs charges for which several of his alleged co-conspirators had been tried, convicted and jailed.
In 2016, a U.S. Court of Appeal in Chicago, Illinois, ruled that Kashamu must answer his drugs allegations in U.S. courts.
Consequently, the Court of Appeal ruled that the appeal has merit and set aside the order of perpetual injunction secured by Mr Kashamu.
Meanwhile, Kashamu swiftly reacted to the ruling on Friday afternoon through a statement by his media aide, Austin Oniyokor.
Below is the statement
PRESS STATEMENT
KASHAMU: I’VE NO EXTRADITION CASE IN COURT
My attention has been drawn to today’s judgment of the Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos in an appeal filed by the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) against the judgment delivered by the Federal High Court, Lagos, in my favour in a fundamental human rights enforcement suit.
Let me state from the outset that contrary to the wrong impression being created by a section of the media, there isn’t any extradition matter against me in any court in Nigeria or abroad. The illegal move surreptitiously introduced by the powers-that-beafter the 2015 abduction plot was exposed has been dismissed. That was in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/479/2015. The suit was dismissed on the 1st of July, 2015, for being an abuse of court process. Anything to the contrary is sheer mischief and over sensationalism by some reporters.
As journalists and judicial reporters who are expected to seek and report the truth at all times, they should know that there is NO extradition case against me anywhere. The Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice appealed against the judgment of the Federal High Court in the fundamental human rights enforcement matter comprised in Suit No.FHC/L/CS/508/2015 which I had instituted in 2015 upon becoming aware of the surreptitious moves by certain persons to abduct me illegally and transport me to the U.S.A. without recourse to the rule of law.
In its judgment in Suit No: FHC/L/CS/508/2015,the Federal High Courtrestrained the Federal Government, its agents and agencies from abducting and forcibly transporting me to the United States of America over the same allegations that two British courts had adjudicated upon and found that to bea case of mistaken identity.
So, clearly what was appealed and decided upon by the Court of Appeal today has nothing to do with extradition. Rather, it was about the failed 2015 abduction.
Let me reiterate that in the face of the law, I do not have any extradition case to answer. Shun of all political manipulations and wizardry in Nigeria where political opponents pull down people to climb up the political ladder, I do not have any extradition case to answer.
I wish to say for the umpteenth time thatthere is no way any extradition proceedingscan be brought against me in the face of the law. What I have been fighting is the attempt to abduct or kidnap me in the guise of an extradition. It is a matter of public record that the purported extradition case that was filed against me in May 2015 was dismissed by the Federal High Court, Abuja,for being an illegality. It could not stand the test of the law. The case could not have seen the light of the day in Nigeria or any civilized country. That was the point the trial judge, the Honourable Justice Gabriel Kolawole made in the judgment when he described the incident as “a show of shame”. He found it incomprehensible that any government official or agency could want to take any step or collaborate with some foreign agents under any guise to perpetrate an illegality after several courts had given judgments against such an action.
So, in the face of the law, that case cannot be brought again! Any other talk or insinuations about a non-existent extradition only exists in the imagination of the mischief-makers. Therefore, there cannot be any other extradition but abduction and an illegality.
This is even more so when the judgment of the British Courts that found the allegation against me to be a case of mistaken identity was not appealed. If a court of competent jurisdiction has pronounced that I AM NOT the person who committed the offence and same verdict has been upheld by our own courts, there is no way this finding and pronouncements of the court can be jettisoned for illegality.
It is this illegality that the Senate frowned at in a resolution passed on the 11th of April, 2017.
The Senate through its Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions resolved, “That the concerned agencies and authorities be advised to stop threatening or carrying out any activities to extradite Senator BurujiKashamu to the United States of America for prosecution, and that the courts be allowed to handle the various aspects of the case before them without any interference.”
Despite the fact that the British courts had exonerated me, I have an abiding faith and believe in our judiciary. We have many people in the judiciary from rich background and reputable families. They do not have to be judicial officers. But, today they are judicial officers because of the call of the Almighty Allah upon them. They sit in courts five days in a week, taking cases and writing judgments upon judgments in long hands. They deny themselves of the freedom that the rest of us enjoy. They cannot have friends and live their lives freely like the rest of us.
Invariably, by accepting to do the job most of us cannot do, they are sacrificing a lot. They belong in the class of some of the best and finest men and women that a society can ever ask for; powerful people yet self-effacing with the fear of God. They know that even when they are judges, they are still conscious of the fact that they are also accountable to the Almighty Allah who is the ultimate judge.
Despite the imperfections in the system, we should respect them because they represent the unseen hands and unheard voices contributing their quota to the development of our dear country. It is because of these unseen hand and unheard voices that Nigeria has not become a banana republic where injustice can be perpetrated with reckless abandon.
Mischief makers and blackmailers should stop all the noise-making. I do not have anything to do with crime and criminalities. Those peddling this lie are merely playing the devil’s advocate. But I take refuge in the Almighty Allah Subwana ta Allah. He is my shepherd and shield. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil.
In the meantime, my lawyers have filed a Notice of Appeal and a Motion for injunction pending the determination of the appeal to the Supreme Court of Nigeria. And I trust that the apex court will do justice. I also wish to use this medium to appeal to all my associates, lovers, supporters and leaders to remain calm. The truth shall prevail over falsehood as light triumphs over darkness.
Signed
Senator Buruji Kashamu
Ogun East Senatorial District

Kudos to Sen Shehu Sani, by Femi Falana (SAN)

Shehu Sani

In the current edition of The News magazine, Senator Shehu Sani made a disclosure which has serious implications for public accountability in Nigeria. Without mincing words the Senator blew the lid off federal legislators’ salary secrecy.

For the first time since May 1999, the Senator disclosed the jumbo emoluments of the members of the upper chamber of the national assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. According to the Senator, the running cost of each Senator is N13.1 million in addition to a consolidated salary of N750,000 per month.

Apart from the monthly package of N13.8 million, each Senator is given the opportunity to execute constituency projects to the tune of N200 million per annum. However, the disclosure made by Senator Sani does not cover the allowances for cars, housing, wardrobe, furniture etc running to several millions of Naira approved for each Senator.

Last year, the legislators also illegally purchased exotic cars of N4.7 billion for themselves when workers were owed arrears of salaries and the masses were groaning under a recession caused by the profligacy and mismanagement of the national economy by the ruling class.

While we commend Senator Shehu Sani for exposing the secrecy which had enveloped the salaries and allowances of federal legislators in Nigeria before now, it is crystal clear that the statement credited to Professor Itse Sagay, the chairman of the Presidential Advisory Council not too long ago to the effect that Nigerian legislators are the highest paid in the world cannot be faulted.

However, the federal legislators cannot be blamed alone for paying themselves skyrocketing salaries and allowances outside the ambit of the wages approved for all political office holders in the country.

The members of the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission empowered by section 70 of the Constitution to approve the salaries and allowances of the legislators have always washed off their hands like Pontius Pilate while the Budget Office has never questioned the payment of unauthorized salaries and allowances to federal legislators.

The revelations by Senator Sani should, therefore, provide an opportunity for the Nigerian people to review the entire costs of governance under the rickety democratic dispensation. The Buhari administration owes the nation a duty to ensure that no political officer is paid salaries and allowances that have not been approved by the Revenue Mobilization. Allocation Fiscal Commission.

The federal government should, as a matter of urgency, halt the payment of double salary and allowances to a number of legislators and ministers.

Sadly, it has been reported in the press that there are moves in the Senate to place Senator Shehu Sani on indefinite suspension for spilling the beans on the payment of the illegal salaries and allowances to federal legislators.

Having discharged a public duty by blowing the whistle on a matter of crucial national importance, all lovers of democracy and public accountability in Nigeria should rally round the Senator by ensuring that he is not harassed for exercising his constitutionally guaranteed fundamental right to freedom of expression.

In view of the duty imposed on all authorities and persons in Nigeria by virtue of section 287 of the Constitution, to comply with the judgment of every competent court, Senator Sani cannot be penalized for disclosing the salaries and allowances of federal legislators in compliance with the valid and subsisting orders of kthe federal high court.

Do more to ensure enforcement of laws, NASS charged

The National Assembly has been charged to make more efforts at ensuring that laws passed by it are obeyed and properly enforced.
An Abuja-based media practitioner, Mrs Henrietta Momodu, who made the charge, said it was necessary that Nigeria’s lawmaking chambers evolve ways to ensure that their laws and resolutions get the needed bite as anything contrary would smell doom for the nation’s fledging democracy.
She said the National Assembly as an institution should be worried about the embarrassing level of non-compliance with its motions and resolutions by the executive, especially government agencies and departments.
Although, Momodu was of the opinion that the 8th Assembly had demonstrated some level of commitment to duty when compared with previous sessions, she still wants the lawmakers to up their game to further lift the image of the institution.
Among the areas, the senior journalist want the lawmakers to work on were absenteeism, lateness to and early departure from plenaries, as well as outright absence, which, according to her, do not augur well for the image of the institution.