The scheduled hearing of a suit filed by Buruji Kashamu, the senator representing Ogun East Senatorial District at the National Assembly, seeking to restrain security agencies from extraditing him to United States of America (USA) to answer alleged drug charges, was stalled at the Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday, due to improper service by Kashamu’s lawyer on other parties.
In the suit marked FHC/L/CS/930/18, Kashamu has asked a Federal High Court, Lagos, to restrain the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Department of State Security (DSS), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke, for an order of perpetual injunction restraining all the respondents from arresting or detaining him in any matter whatsoever, interfering with his personal liberty and freedom of movement on the basis of his lawyer’s letter dated May 23, 2018, wherein he protested the NDLEA’s invitation requesting for his extradition to USA.
The Senator had also urged the court for a declaration that the instructions given by the AGF to other respondents on May 25, 2018, in a reaction to his letter dated May 23, 2018, wherein he protested the NDLEA’s invitation to the USA to send a request for his extradition to US, and the attempt and any further attempts by the first to fourth respondents to arrest him on the basis of the AGF’s said instructions, are a breach of his fundamental rights to personal liberty and freedom as guaranteed by Section 35 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and article 14 of the African Charter on human and people’s rights.
However, one of the respondents, NDLEA, in its preliminary objection filed before the court by its legal officers, J.N. Sunday and Ichakpa Oigoga, had urged the court to dismiss Kashamu’s suit on the basis of incompetence, as it failed to disclose any infringement of his right, as well as for being an abuse of court processes.
In an affidavit in support of the preliminary objection deposed to by one of its litigation/exhibit officers, Kareem Olayinka, NDLEA held that the USA authorities are currently seeking to have Kashamu extradited to their country to answer charges relating to the trafficking in heroin, and that the USA government had made the request sometime in May 2015.
The deponent also stated that since the applicant got wind of the extradition request, he has filed multiple lawsuits relating to the issue.
Among the suits filed by the applicant are suit numbers FHC/L/CS/508/14, FHC/L/CS 508/2015, FHC/L/CS/763/2015 and FHC/L/CS/479/2015, before Justice O.E. Abang, Justice Nasir Ibrahim Buba and Justice G.O. Kolawole.
He also added that the AGF successfully prosecuted an appeal against the judgment of Justice O.E. Abang in both substantive and contempt cases, and obtained judgments setting aside the decisions of the lower court in appeal numbers CA/L/1030/2015 and CA/L/1030A/205.
He urged the court to dismiss Kashamu’s suit as it failed to disclose any cause of action against the AGF on violation of his rights, adding that the multiplicity of actions continuously filed and maintained by the applicant against NDLEA is intended to annoy and divert its energy and attention from discharging its mandate to the nation.
He also stated that it is apparent that Kashamu is only engaged in forum shopping that will grant his desired reliefs by the multiplicity of his actions.
At the resumed hearing of the matter on Tuesday, while counsel to all parties informed the court of their readiness to proceed with the hearing of the suit, the DSS lawyer, M.O. Bajela, informed the court that Kashamu’s lawyers have complied with the court’s directive that ordered them to serve the hearing notice on all parties.
Bajela informed the court that the AGF who is vital to the suit was not represented.
However, upon perusal of the court’s file, it was discovered that the hearing notice which was meant for the AGF was served on the DSS, which Bajela signed for, a situation Kashamu’s lawyer, Mobolaji Akintunde, described as unfortunate.
“I’m so surprised that the court’s bailiff copied out the wrong address. It’s quite unfortunate," Akintunde said.
Akintunde pleaded with the court for adjournment to enable them properly serve the AGF.
Justice Aneke consequently ordered that the hearing notice be issued and served on the AGF, and adjourned the matter till March 8 for hearing of Kashamu’s motion on notice and NDLEA’s preliminary objection.