Hearing of all pending applications in a suit filed by Prince Kashamu Buruji has been adjourned till Friday by a Federal High Court, sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos.
Buruji, a Senator-elect under the platform of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Ogun East Senatorial district, filed the suit against the Inspector-General of Police and 11 other respondents, to forestall his extradition to the United States of America (USA) on alleged drug related offences.
Sued as respondents in the fundamental rights suit with number FHC/L/CS/508/15 are Chairman, Nigerian Drug Laws Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Director General, Department of State Security (DSS),the Interpol National Central Bureau, and Attorney-General of the Federation.
Others are the Clerk of the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, The National Security Adviser to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Nigeria Custom Services (NCS), the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
Justice OkonAbang adjourned hearing of the suit, following an application for adjournment by Mr. RotimiOyedepo, counsel to the EFCC, for him to confirm which of the office of the agency (Lagos or Abuja) that the processes were served.
Oyedepo claimed that he was yet to lay his hands on the processes filed by the applicant, and that it is not in the habit of the agency not to respond to any application filed against it. Moreover, the matter was coming up for the first time.
He, therefore,asked the court for a very short adjournment to enable the anti-graft agency respond to Buruji’s application, which he said would be in the interest of justice.
The EFCC counsel apologised to both the applicant and other respondents in the suit stalling the Monday’s proceedings.
However, lawyer to the applicant, Dr. Alex Izinyon SAN, urged the court to discountenance EFCC’s application for an adjournment, on the ground that the matter before the court must be determined expeditiously.
He argued that there was no material fact before the court to exercise its discretion,and that since EFCC had conceded that they were served and failed to respond, after the 12 days stipulated by Order 8 Rule 3 of the court, such did not make room for ‘even extension of time’.
However, other respondents in the suit, who have filed their responses and objections to the suit, did not raise any objection to the anti-graft commission’s application for adjournment.
Specifically, counsel to the Nigeria Immigration Service, the 11th respondent in the suit, Mr. Silas Simon, also urged the court for a very short adjournment, due to the inability of the NIS to respond to the applicant’s application, owing to his ill health.
Consequently, Justice OkonAbang adjourned the hearing of all pending applications in the matter till Friday.
Prince Buruji, a chieftain of the ruling PDP, was elected a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the April 28 election, to represent Ogun-East Senatorial District, OgunState.
Buruji, in a 92-paragraph affidavit, sworn and deposed to by himself and filed before the court by two Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Dr. Alex Izinyon and Ricky Tarfa, claimed to be a businessman of Plot 1228 Ahamadu Bello Way, Victoria Island in Lagos, Nigeria.
He averred that he was incarcerated in Brixton Prisons in London from January 10, 1998 till January 10, 2003, when judgement delivered by the Bow Street Magistrate London,presided over by District Judge Tim Workman, where it was held that the allegations by the US authorities against him, with regard to importation of Narcotic into the United States of America, involved a case of mistaken identity and there was no ‘prima facie’ case that he was the person referred to as ‘Alhaji’ by those apprehended in the US, who had indicated that they had a West African Collaborator. Consequently, the Judge then proceeded to set aside the committal order.
He also stated that after the judgement, which was delivered on October 6, 2000, he was re-arrested and brought to face the second extradition proceedings, which the US authorities had commenced before the judgement of the High Court was delivered. And that when the second extradition judgment was delivered on the January 10, 2003, by Justice Tim Workman he was released. Thereafter, he return to Nigeria to start his business.
He stated that,thereafter, he was lured to join politics because of his philanthropic activities, through his Omo-Ilu Foundation. But his political activities had brought him some powerful enemies, including his erstwhile political leader, Chief OlusegunObasanjo.
In the affidavit, Kashamu alleged further that Chief Obasanjo and himself had been political allies between 2009 and 2012 when he worked for him and his candidate for the governorship of Ogun State, General Olurin. And that he, however, fell out with Chief Obasanjo because of his stance for internal democracy in the Peoples Democratic Party. Consequently, himself and his allies resorted to litigation to loosen Obasanjo’s grip.