A week after a U.S. court insisted on his extradition for drug related offences, Nigerian senator Buruji Kashamu has been accused by some lawyers of alleged threat to their lives.
A group of lawyers in Ogun State petitioned the state Commissioner of Police over alleged threat to their lives and attempted murder by Mr. Kashamu, who has claimed the U.S. drug case was that of mistaken identity.
The lawyers, in a letter by Edwards Group Chambers dated January 30, alleged that Mr. Kashamu had contracted suspected hired killers to eliminate them for being counsel to the defendant in a case instituted by Mr. Kashamu.
The Senator had filed the suit against a member of the House of Representatives, Ladi Adebutu, before an Abeokuta High Court for allegedly calling Mr. Kashamu a fugitive and drug baron.
The lawyers, in the petition copied the Inspector General of Police, Senate President, Chief Judge of Ogun State, Director of State Security Service and Director, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, alleged that the grouse of Mr. Kashamu was that they accepted a brief to defend Mr. Adebutu in the case.
Signed by Kayode Akinsola on their behalf, the petitioners stated that after the proceedings of January 25 in the court, suspected thugs who they alleged had been brought to the court by Mr. Kashamu, pursued the lawyers and fired gun shots at their vehicles.
They further alleged that the attempt on their lives was in reaction to their cross examination of Mr. Kashamu in the court.
“Unfortunately, the rigorous cross examination of Buruji Kashamu by Chief Edwards Odugbesan on matters that borders on the alleged criminal atrocities of Senator Buruji Kashamu in the United States and United Kingdom purportedly infuriated Senator Buruji Kashamu and his teeming supporters in court, majority of whom we later discovered to be hired thugs of Senator Buruji Kashamu sometime last week”, they wrote in the petition.
“Suffice it to say that the aftermath of the close of proceedings of 25th January, 2017 witnessed an ugly situation where thugs of the popular politician ran after our vehicles and shot to the air somewhere before getting to Kuto, Abeokuta, Ogun State, forcing us to scamper into safety and narrowly escaped being killed”, they stated.
The lawyers added further that “the above egregious state of affairs was further aggravated by the threat to take human lives, personally made by Kashamu and captured by the Punch Newspaper of Monday, January 30, ‘wherein he vowed to kill up to five persons before he can be forcefully extradited to the United States of America to answer to charges of his alleged involvement in banned substances’.”
Mr. Kashamu’s spokesperson has since told PREMIUM TIMES his principal did not issue the threat to kill anyone.
The lawyers urged the police to offer them protection on the next date of hearing on February
“It will not be out of place to state that the defendant and all the lawyers representing the defendant are endangered species and prime targets of Senator Buruji Kashamu’s thugs and assassins therewith.
“As a corollary to the foregoing, we apply for provision of adequate security cover and orderly for all the lawyers representing the defendant before, during and after court proceedings.
“We equally invite you to investigate the alleged intention of Senator Buruji Kashamu as to the names of those he intend to kill in the aforesaid national publication and occurrence of the 25 January, 2016”,they stated in their petition.
In his reaction, Mr. Kashamu’s media assistant, Austin Oniyokor, described the allegation as laughable.
“There was nothing like attack on anybody,” Mr. Oniyokor said on Wednesday. “We came to Abeokuta and after the hearing we left peacefully. Even, we met the governor’s convoy and he can testify to our peaceful exit.”
The aide said if such attack truly occurred, it would have been reported in the media, and the lawyers would not wait for about a week before reporting it to the police.