Download ruling: U.S. Court insists Nigerian fugitive senator be extradited

Buruji Kashamu
Ogun State senator, Buruji Kashamu [Photo Credit: CBS News]

The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago, Illinois, last week 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.”

But Mr. Kashamu issued a statement on January 26 to rubbish Mr. Posner’s latest order and reprimand the media for allegedly “sensationalising” his ordeal. He said the controversy had been a case of mistaken identity and he had been discharged and acquitted following a lengthy trial in the United Kingdom years ago.

Mr. Kashamu said he was the one who dragged the U.S. Government before the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in 2015 following a conspiracy to abduct him in Nigeria.

The senator said reporters are harping on his run in with the American law enforcement because they have nothing else to sensationalise since the presidential election had passed.

“The media probably needs a stimulant to sustain their audience now that the drama of the US election is abating,” he said in a statement by his counsel, Ajibola Oluyede.

Specifically, Mr. Kashamu’s lawyers are citing a 1986 amendment to the United States Foreign Assistance Act which prohibits U.S. law enforcement agents from arresting narcotics suspects in foreign countries.

Known as the Mansfield Amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act, the law stated, amongst other things, in section one as follows:

“Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no officer or employee of the United States may engage or participate in any direct police arrest action in any foreign country with respect to narcotics control efforts.

“No such officer or employee may interrogate or be present during the interrogation of any United States person arrested in any foreign country with respect to narcotics control efforts without the written consent of such person.”

Mr. Oluyede predicted grave consequences for the Nigerian state should Mr. Posner’s pronouncement be allowed to stand.

“It is disturbing that the media has ignored the implication of the US Seventh Circuit’s pronouncement concerning the capacity of the US government to carry out police operations in foreign territory in breach of International Law and the municipal law of the victim state,” he said.

But Mr. Posner in his argument said American authorities could be present when Nigerian officials executing Mr. Kashamu’s extradition order.

The judge apparently relied on a subsection of the law which stated, amongst other things, that that the first section “shall not prohibit officers and employees of the United States from being present during direct police arrest actions with respect to narcotics control efforts in a foreign country to the extent that the Secretary of State and the government of that country agree to such an exemption.

“The Secretary of State shall report any such agreement to the Congress before the agreement takes effect.”

Mr. Oluyede did not immediately respond to PREMIUM TIMES’ email seeking his position on that part of the law Monday afternoon.

Download and read the full judgment on Mr. Kashamu as obtained by PREMIUM TIMES here.

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