"Obasanjo is plotting my extradition to U.S." - Buruji Kashamu

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the Nigerian government are plotting with United States agents to extradite Buruji Kashamu to America to face drug related charges, the Senator-elect for Ogun East Senatorial District has said.

Mr. Kashamu, who was elected in the March 28th National Assembly election, accused Mr. Obasanjo of instigating U.S. security agencies to apprehend him and ship him to the States.

In a petition to the National Human Rights Commission titled “Prince Buruji Kashamu: Abduction Plans By United States of America Agents in Collaboration with Law Enforcement Agencies in Nigeria,” the politician said that the plan for his extradition is in full swing.

The petition, dated April 15 and written by Ajibode Oluyede on behalf of Mr. Kashamu, called for an immediate investigation into the alleged plot.
“Kashamu has instructed that we bring certain important facts and records to your attention with regard to the illegality of this plan and the malicious and unpatriotic motives of those behind it and seek your urgent intervention in accordance with the jurisdiction expressly given to your commission by the National Human Rights Act 1995 as amended to carry out and (sic) inquiry into the matter in order to establish the culpability and compromise of certain institution in this despicable plan and to protect our client’s fundamental human right to liberty, life and dignity of the person.”
Mr. Kashamu faced drug related charges in the U.S. before he fled to the U.K. where repeated efforts by American officials to extradite him failed, before he returned to Nigeria.

The Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP chieftain and 14 others were, in 1998, charged by a federal grand jury in the US for their alleged involvement in an international conspiracy to smuggle heroin into the U.S.

In 2009, Mr. Kashamu had, through a local counsel in the U.S., filed a motion to quash his arrest warrant and to dismiss the indictment against him on the ground that an English court had found that he was not the one charged with smuggling drugs into the US.

In September 2014, a U.S. Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal filed by Mr. Kashamu seeking to quash his indictment for smuggling drugs into the US.

The court upheld an earlier ruling, four months earlier, which equally dismissed the motion filed by the politician.

The appellate court noted that Mr. Kashamu did not want to be extradited to the US to stand trial on the “very serious criminal charges” against him.
“Although the United States has an extradition treaty with Nigeria, our government has made no effort to extradite him,” Judge Posner stated in the court’s ruling.

“He (Mr. Kashamu) is correct that the district court has no jurisdiction over him at present. But should he ever come to the United States, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, he could be put to trial in the federal district court in Chicago, since the indictment has no expiration date.”
Mr. Kashamu had, however, continued to insist that he was falsely indicted by the US courts, accusing the US judiciary of racism.

There is no love lost between Mr. Kashamu and Mr. Obasanjo; and both hail from the same Ogun State.

In January 2014, Mr. Obasanjo had sent incriminating documents to President Jonathan and the PDP leadership to support his claim that Mr. Kashamu is a fugitive from the US justice.

The former president had written to the party leadership one week earlier threatening to withdraw his membership from the party if they did not stop treating Mr. Kashamu with reverence.
“Since I stick in my practice of party politics to the hallowed and cherished principles enunciated above, I take this opportunity to let you know that while I continue to remain a card-carrying member of the party,” Mr. Obasanjo had said.

“I cannot and I will not subscribe to a wanted habitual criminal being installed as my zonal leader in the party; a criminal for whom extradition has been requested by the US Government.

“I will consider withdrawing my activity with PDP at Local, State, Zonal, and national levels until the anomalous and shameful situation is corrected.”
In February this year, Mr. Obasanjo renounced his membership of the PDP by publicly tearing his party membership card as the party moved to expel him, allegedly for anti-party activities.

Credit: Ben Ezeamalu/Premium Times