The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency has explained as misleading the claim by the senator representing Ogun-East senatorial district, Buruji Kashamu, that a court had continuously controlled the Federal Government from extraditing him to the United States of America to face drugs-related cases.
This was disclosed in a counter-affidavit filed by the NDLEA before a Federal High Court in Abuja to contest the contempt proceedings initiated by Kashamu against the agency and other respondents.
Kashamu had filed the contempt suit before Justice Gabriel Kolawole against the Chairman of NDLEA, the NDLEA itself and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
He anchored the contempt suit on an allegation that the three respondents were taking steps to extradite him to the USA in disobedience to various court orders.
Justice Kolawole had last year struck out the extradition proceedings initiated by the then Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, against Kashamu.
The decision by Justice Kolawole was based on the previous rulings of the Lagos Divisions of the Federal High Court which had ruled against the planned extradition.
But the NDLEA, in a counter-affidavit deposed to by one of its litigation officers, Mr. Rifkatu Barde, said the court orders referred to by the senator did not prevent the respondents from taking lawful steps to extradite him.
The counter-affidavit read in part, “The respondents cannot be restrained perpetually from arresting the applicant. What the respondents are hereby restrained from doing, that is, assuming they can even act on any application for his extradition – having regard to the substantive judgment, is unlawful arrest or abduction without a warrant duly issued in line with the Extradition Act as amended.
“The decision of the court in the case of Kashamu did not shut the door to any lawful steps that may be subsequently taken to extradite him pursuant to the Extradition Act Cap. E, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.”
The agency stated that Kashamu had been using false text messages to mislead the court and that the call log which he claimed to have obtained from a service provider did not support his claim about the alleged attempt to forcefully abduct him and ferry him to the USA to face drug charges.
The NDLEA, however, stated that the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court had only ruled in favour of Kashamu in 2010 to the effect that any plan to extradite him by the Attorney General of the Federation and the NDLEA to the USA must be in compliance with the Extradition Act, 2004.
The agency explained that it was not a respondent to a suit with No. FHC/ABJ/CS/479/2015 which Kashamu alleged was disobeyed.
The counter-affidavit also read, “That Hon. Justice E. O. Abang, in his judgment in suit No. FHC//L/CS/49/2010, clearly stated that the delicate aspect of this case which the court must be extremely be careful with is that the allegations contained in the petitions against the applicant border on allegations of commission of criminal offences by the applicant.
“That police or any security agency cannot be restrained from discharging their statutory duties, a court of law cannot restrain the police or security agencies from discharging their statutory functions.”
The agency also stated that Kashamu “is in the habit of indulging in deliberate distortion of facts to mislead the courts and overreach the course of justice by distorting facts and tendering enrolled orders as opposed to full judgment of courts.”
Kashamu was represented by his lawyer, Mr. Raphael Oluyede, when the matter came up before Justice Kolawole on Thursday.
The NDLEA, which was represented by Mr. Mike Kassa, notified the court of its counter-affidavit.
The AGF’s lawyer, Mr. Agbaji Ochai, also said he had filed a similar court process.
The judge then fixed February 16, 2017 for hearing in the case.