Court adjourns Kashamu’s extradition suit

Buruji Kashamu
Buruji Kashamu

The Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday adjourned to June 27 for hearing in a suit filed by a former senator for Ogun East district, Buruji Kashamu.

Mr Kashamu in the suit is praying for a court order to prohibit the federal government from extraditing him to the United States of America for trial on drug possession charges.

The judge, Okon Abang, who was billed to adjudicate on the matter, fixed June 27 as fresh hearing date following the absence of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) or his representative in court.

During the court session on Thursday, Mr Buruji’s counsel, John Olusola, told the court that the matter which borders on fundamental human rights was for hearing and that he was surprised that the AGF was not in court.

However, the counsel representing the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Puis Gande, told the court that the case was transferred from Justice Ahmed Mohammed to the new court.

Mr Gande added that the AGF was not notified of the transfer and was not issued with hearing notice.

Mr Abang, who had adjourned the case for the third time, cross-checked the record of proceedings and discovered that the AGF was not notified of the transfer of the case to him.

He also discovered that hearing notice was not issued to the AGF.

Mr Abang, thereafter, held that hearing notice is a fundamental issue as it borders on fair hearing.

He subsequently adjourned the matter to June 27 for hearing.

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The judge further said that no court of law will proceed with any matter until all the parties had been duly served with a hearing notice.

He added that any court that proceeds without hearing notice to parties is embarking on a nullity.

”It is clear that the AGF is not served with the hearing notice and this condition cannot be waived by any party because its absence will render proceeding a nullity

“As for me, I don’t want to work in vain. AGF must be served with hearing notice for this matter to proceed as required by law and there must be a proof of service.

Although Mr Kashamu’s lawyer had wanted the matter to proceed in the absence of the AGF, the court rejected the move and instead opted for an adjournment.

The former senator, who was expelled from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the run-up to the general election, had sued the AGF and the NDLEA for the enforcement of his fundamental rights.

He is praying the court to stop the two respondents from extraditing him to the U.S. where he is wanted for drug-related offences. He has repeatedly claimed he is innocent and has resisted moves to extradite him.

In May last year, the appeal court ruled against Mr Kashamu, signifying a possibility he could be arrested before extradition commences.

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