By Gbenga Ogunbufunmi
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, today, awarded the sum of N100,000 as cost in favour of Department of State Security Services (DSS) and the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency, against Senator representing Ogun East Senatorial district, Senator Buruji Kashamu, for unduly delaying the hearing of an application he filed to stop his extradition to United State of America (USA), to face alleged drug related charges.
Kashamu, a Senator representing Ogun East Senatorial District at the National Assembly, had in his suit marked FHC/L/CS/930/2018, joined as respondents: the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Commissioner of Police Lagos Police Command, Director General State Security Service (DSS), National Drug law Enforcement Agency NDLEA, and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF)
He is urging the court to restrain the respondents and their agents from arresting or detaining him, in any manner whatsoever, or interfering with his right to personal liberty and freedom of movement.
Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke had taken arguments in the suit from respective parties and had reserved his judgement until April 29.
On April 29, due to the Easter vacation, judgement could not be delivered in the suit. The matter was consequently, adjourned until May 10. But on May 10, the case was further adjourned for today, for hearing.
At the resumed hearing of the matter today, the trio of O. Fajela, J.N Sunday and I. O. Ichakpa, counsel to the DSS and NDLEA respectively, informed the court of the absence of the applicant and his counsel, which they said have occurred on third and fourth occasions.
When asked by the Presiding Judge, Justice Chukwujekwu Joseph Aneke, if they are aware of the letter sent to court by Kashamu’s counsel, court then asked defence counsel, for adjournment of the suit for being before an Appeal Court.
In response, the respondents’ counsel expressed dissatisfaction at the frequent adjournment, on the grounds that the case had been adjourned severally at the instance of plaintiff.
They added that it was the case of the plaintiff and they ought to exhibit diligence.
Consequently, DSS counsel urged the court to award a cost of N100,000 in its favour against the plaintiff.
In the same vein, lawyers to NDLEA also asked for a cost of N200,000 against Kashamu.
In a short ruling Justice Aneke awarded a cost of N50,000 each in favour of DSS and and NDLEA respectively.
The court adjourned the case until October 31 for hearing.
In a supporting affidavit, the applicant averred that by a newspaper publication, the Attorney General of the Federation was reported to have said that the US Government had been told to make fresh request for his extradition, after the former proceedings were dismissed.
He averred that, in a proceeding instituted in England by the US authorities between 2002 and 2003, it was established that he was not the one implicated in the alleged narcotics offence committed in the US in 1994.
He said that consequently, he was not the person sought after by the US authorities.
Kashamu, is therefore, urging the court to restrain the respondents and their agents from arresting or detaining him, in any manner whatsoever, or interfering with the applicant’s right to personal liberty and freedom of movement
Meanwhile in a preliminary objection, deposed to by one Kareem Olayinka, the NDLEA averred that authorities of the United States are currently seeking to extradite the applicant to their country, to answer charges relating to Heroine trafficking.
He said that the US government then made a request to the Nigerian government, for the applicant to be extradited sometime in May 2015.
The Agency said that since Kashamu got wind of the extradition request, he has filed multiplicity of law suits relating to the issue.
He averred that in all these actions the basic relief sought, is a restraining order against the NDLEA, from arresting and extraditing him to the US.
According to the NDLEA, this suit does not disclose any cause of action against the respondent, adding that the multiplicity of the action by the applicant against the NDLEA, is intended to divert its energy and attention from discharging its mandate to the nation.
He, avers therefore, that the NDLEA needs the protection of the court to stop this trend, as the applicant is only engaged in shopping for a forum that will grant his desired reliefs.
The Agency is therefore, asking the court to dismiss the suit.