By Eric Ikhilae, Abuja
A federal court in Abuja on Thursday prevented the federal government from taking measures to extradite Buruji Kashamu to a chief of the Democratic People's Party (PDP) Senator to the United States, alleging his complicity in the illicit drug trade.
Judge Okon Abang, in a trial, considered that neither the federal governor nor any of his agents could validly initiate an extradition process against Kashamu with a view to approving restrictive orders and trials in his favor, which remain unchallenged.
Judge Abang particularly noted that the sentence handed down by the Supreme Federal Court of Lagos on January 6, 2014 (case No. 49/2010) and another sentence issued by the Supreme Court on July 1, 2016, Abuja (case No. 479 / 2015), which prohibited Kashamu's extradition on account of US drug allegations, still remain.
The sentence was about a marked action: FHC / ABJ / CS / 530/18 brought by Kashamu, with the Federation's Attorney General (AGF) and the National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) as defendants.
Kashamu had contested ownership of a letter from Shehu Bodinga, from the Central Control Unit of the AGF office, asking the United States Embassy in Nigeria to refer a new extradition request following the trial of Judge Gabriel Kolawole (then of the Federal Court of Abuja) in case 479/2015, annulling a previous extradition process.
Judge Abang, in his judgment, noted that Judge Kolawole's judgment, in annulling the previous extradition process, was based on two judgments of the Supreme Court in cases 49/2010 and 508/2015, declaring all attempts illegal to extradite Kashamu in view of the trials of two British courts, which held that he was not the person involved in the US drug crime.
The judge noted that although AGF successfully challenged the court's decisions in case 508/2015, which were overturned in the appeals filed: 1030 and 1030a on May 4, 2018, AGF did not appeal the other sentence in the case at: 49/2010.
Judge Abang held that since the judgment in case 49/2010, which contained a specific order to prevent AGF from exercising its extradition power under the Extradition Law, has not been challenged, it remains alive with the order restriction.
The judge also held that since the subsequent trial of Justice Kolawole was also not appealed, it remains subsistent and binding on all parties.
In the previous part of the trial, Judge Abang annulled the letter written by Bodinga, dated July 14, 2016, with the argument that neither AGF nor its agent has the power, under any law, to apply to a country foreigner, with which Nigeria extradition treaty, to submit an extradition request from a citizen of that country in which that country has not made such a request.
The judge observed the decisions of the Court of Appeal in the two trials, on which Judge Gabriel Kolawole relied, appeared to conflict.
He said that the decision of the Court of Appeal of September 20, 2018 to dismiss the appeal marked: 479/2015, which was an appeal against the judgment in case No. 49/2010 is the most recent decision, to which he must to agree.
Judge Abang said: “The effect of the Court of Appeal to dismiss the appeal in case No. 49/2010 is that the judgment was validated in all its branches, including the restraining order in that judgment.
“It is my humble view that AGF has no discretion in this matter. With the greatest respect for AGF, he has no choice in the matter. The fact that the order of restraint in the judgment in case 49/2010 of 6 January 2014 is still valid and still exists, is not a matter of sentiment.
“In fact, it is not a political issue. We don't practice democracy in court, no matter how politicians look at it. Politicians can see it in the way that favors them. But, sitting like a court, where there is no appeal against a sentence, that sentence remains.
“This is a matter of law. Where there is no appeal against a sentence, there is nothing that anyone can do in a democratic environment. If the restraining order should not have been made, the AGF should appeal against it.
“The Attorney General of the Federation, with the utmost respect for him, cannot pretend that the restraining order no longer exists. The 1st defendant (AGF) cannot assume that the order was not made in good faith, even when he participated in the process.
“The 1st defendant successfully appealed and obtained a sentence in case No. 508/2015, which was annulled. Why did AGF not appeal the judgment in case No. 49/2010? Why did AG not appeal against that sentence, even when the Court of Appeal recently dismissed the appeal?
“I appreciate the fact that the current AGF was not in office when this trial was delivered on January 6, 2014. I really sympathize with him. he inherited.
“In my opinion, he cannot now try to take action against that trial when his predecessor in office saw no need to appeal the trial or saw anything wrong with the trial.
“Unless the decision of the Court of Appeal of September 20, 2018, dismisses the appeal in case 49/2010, is validly annulled in an appeal to the Supreme Court, AGF cannot validly take measures that are contrary to its remaining judgment. court. This will be an invitation to anarchy.
“Appealing the sentence is the legal step to take. Taking other measures against the trial order besides appealing is illegal and an exercise of the Executive's illegality.
“I hope that the AGF, an office created by the Constitution, the head of law of the federation, who will also be the chief minister in the temple of justice, the conscience of society, rebounds the law and does not violate the laws of the land. "