The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago, Illinois, has again affirmed the ruling of a lower court for the extradition of Ogun State senator, Buruji Kashamu, to stand trial for drugs crimes.
In a January 23, 2017 order, the presiding judge, Richard Posner, said Mr. Kashamu must be extradited to the United States as he had failed to make any compelling case to the contrary.
“For all these reasons, the decision of the district court is affirmed,” Mr. Posner said while issuing the order without oral argument in case number 161004.
The order comes three years after Mr. Posner delivered a similar judgement for immediate extradition of Mr. Kashamu for alleged drugs offences and money laundering.
In his September 15, 2014 judgment, Mr. Posner said Mr. Kashamu’s alleged crimes have no statute of limitation and whenever he steps into the United States “whether voluntarily or involuntarily, he could be put on trial in the federal district court in Chicago.”
Mr. Posner further lamented that American authorities were not making enough efforts to arrest Mr. Kashamu, who was first indicted by a grand jury in 1998.
“Although the United States has an extradition treaty with Nigeria, our government has made no effort to extradite him,” he said at the time.
Mr. Kashamu again dragged the U.S. Government before the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in 2015, alleging a conspiracy to abduct him in Nigeria. His plea was rejected by the district court.
While upholding the decision of the district court, Mr. Posner said the U.S. law enforcement agents could come to Nigeria to arrest Mr. Kashamu or be assisted by Nigerian security agencies in effecting his apprehension and subsequent extradition.
No law prevents U.S. authorities from “being present when foreign officers are effecting an arrest or from assisting foreign officers who are effecting an arrest” the Chicago Tribune quoted Mr. Posner as saying.
Mr. Kashamu has been fighting his extradition to the United States for several years.
A six-day siege to his home in May 2015 ended after a Federal High Court judge ordered officials of the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency to back down.
Mr. Kashamu, first elected senator from Ogun East Senatorial District in 2015, has maintained his innocence in the drugs charges.
His lawyers said the controversy had been a case of mistaken identity and that the senator had been discharged and acquitted following a lengthy trial in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Posner acknowledged the detrimental effect of the U.K. court findings on Mr. Kashamu in his 2014 judgment.
“Given Kashamu’s prominence in Nigerian business and government circles, and the English magistrate’s findings and conclusion, the probability of extradition may actually be low,” Mr. Posner said.
But the United States authorities remained adamant in their quest to bundle him out of Nigeria and make him face trial in an American court.
Mr. Kashamu’s spokesman, Austin Oniyorkor, did not immediately respond to PREMIUM TIMES’ request for comments. A reaction he promised to send by e-mail did not come in hours later.
A spokesman for the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, did not respond to request for comment Thursday afternoon.
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