Paul Yovo writes on the travail of Senator-election for Ogun east Buruji Kashamu
When Ogun-East senator-elect, Buruji Kashamu won the Ogun east Senatorial seat in the March 28 poll, he must have thought amidst the celebration of his victory that his challenging past, particularly his alleged drug related offences in the United States of America, were gone for good. But the election seems to have brought him more worries than he had anticipated. The man who had been having a running battle with his kinsman and ex-president Obasanjo over the drug allegation and has been claiming his innocence, at the weekend revealed why he shudders to think of facing extradition to the USA.
In an interview with a television at the weekend, Kashamu said he was a free man as far as he had obtained exoneration by a British court for the same offences for which he is been wanted in the USA.
He bragged: “Asking me to take the next available flight to the US so as to clear my name is like asking me to jump in a fire – may the Almighty rescue me from it.”
“If the US prosecutor could hide important evidence that later exonerated me in the UK court, only God knows what they will do in their country.
“I have done a lot of things to clear my name. I spent four years in detention at the hands of the US authorities to prove my innocence before I was eventually exonerated. This was also in the presence of the US prosecutors and other agencies in various countries, like the Republic of Benin, Nigeria. It was after a rigorous trial with pictorial and documentary evidence that I was discharged.”
But the man is fighting on all fronts to save his head and his mandate. And in doing so he is a throwing everything into the fight. Recently he reportedly said his enemies are making plans to surreptitiously ferret him out of the country to the USA. He fingers his nemesis, Obasanjo as the arrowhead of the plan. In a petition he reportedly wrote the Nigerian Human Right Commission, dated April 15, the Senator-elect is said to have stated how he got wind of the plans to unlawfully abduct him to the USA to answer charges of involvement in illicit drug trafficking. A friend of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke (SAN), he claims, reveal the plant o his lawyer during a chance flight from Abuja to Lagos.
He wants the National Human Rights Commission to intervene and restore his rights According to Kashamu in the petition: “On a flight to the Federal Capital, Abuja from Lagos sometime in October 2014 a colleague and friend of our principal partner, R. A. Oluyede, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), who is also very close to the AGF, informed Mr. Oluyede of the tremendous pressure that Chief (Olusegun) Obasanjo was bringing upon the AGF for the extradition of Prince Kashamu and that, in one discussion between the AGF and Chief Obasanjo, witnessed by him (the SAN), Chief Obasanjo had boasted that he was making arrangements with some US officials in the region to have Prince Kashamu abducted and flown, in a private plane, to the US. “He advised that Mr. Oluyede tells Prince Kashamu, known widely to be his client, to be very careful.
Prince Kashamu’s enquiry about this information revealed that indeed, there had been moves made by US officials within the region, to secure the assistance of the head of the INTERPOL division in Nigeria, Mr. Solomon Arase, a Deputy Inspector General of Police, for the arrest and delivery to the US officials of Kashamu for transportation to the US without following the due process required by the Nigeria Extradition Act.” Earlier Kashamu had sued the Chairman, National Drug Laws Enforcement Agency and 11 others over the alleged plot to extradite him to the US.
He has also filed a suit at the Federal High Court in Lagos seeking for a declaration to enforce his fundamental rights and stop the move to forcibly abduct him to the United State of America, arguing that the move violate his right to liberty, freedom of association and freedom of movement as protected by sections 35, 40 and 41 of the Constitution. With this recent move Kashamu, who had earlier had some of his actions reversed, like the court injunction he got against the circulation on Obasanjo’s autobiography, reversed by the courts, may taking on the fight in another front whose outcome is still in the womb of time. In the political fronts, the senator-elect has the challenge of his election waiting at the post-election tribunal where the rival All Progressives Congress, opponent is planning to amass evidence he claims, will support his case that the election of Kashamu was massively rigged. Will he survive these wars on all fronts, time will tell.