The Court of Appeal has fixed May 11 for judgement, in the extradition suit instituted by the federal government against a serving Senator Prince Buruju Kashamu, seeking his extradition to the United States of America (USA) for trial in a drug related offence.
The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and the Minister of Justice, Malam Abubakar Malami, it would be recalled had approached the appellate court with a fi led appeal on behalf of the federal government. The court had on March 8 reserved judgement in the high profile case, but sources confirmed that the verdict “is now ready for delivery on May 11” and that “parties in the matter have been well notified through the issuance of hearing notices.”
The Minister of Justice is in the appeal case argued by his counsel, Chief Emeka Ngige, praying the Court of Appeal to set aside the two Federal High Court Judgments obtained by Kashamu against his extradition by government and its security agencies.
The contention of government primarily was that the senator representing Ogun East in the Senate got the two judgments in the lower court from Justice Okon Abang on mere hearsay and speculation to frustrate his extradition as requested by the America government. Specifically, the AGF claimed in the appeal that Kashamu suppressed facts before the High Court to secure the restraining order against the federal government.
The AGF also averred that Justice Abang erred in law by issuing order in favour of the senator without evaluating the documentary evidence placed before him during the hearing and urged the Appeal Court to void the two judgements and set them aside. Ngige, who cited several authorities in support of his submissions, told the Appeal Court that the lower court ought to have declined granting of reliefs sought by Kashamu “because the foundation of his suit was laid on hearsays from so many individuals.”
He, therefore, urged the appellate court to set aside the decisions of the High Court “so as to allow the federal government to execute the request of the USA government to extradite the senator to America.”
Meanwhile, Lateef Fagbemi, who led Kashamu’s legal team comprising Chief Akin Olujimi, Hakeem Afolabi and a retinue of lawyers urged the court to uphold the judgement of Abang on the ground that it was based on fact and not hearsays. After the adoption of their final arguments and adumbrations, Justice Joseph Ikhegh, who presided over the matter, announced the decision to reserve judgement in the matter “in view of the plethora of authorities cited by both parties in the matter.”
Justice Okon Abang, in his first judgement on the extradition matter delivered on January 6, 2014, against six respondents, had stopped the extradition of Kashamu on the ground that due process of law was not followed. The same judge in his second judgement on the same issue delivered on May 27, 2015, against 12 other respondents barred the respondents from sending the senator to America by force to go and face trial in his alleged indictment in an alleged drug offence.