A group, Justice Watch Group of Nigeria, on Thursday petitioned the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Lagos, questioning the morality of the case instituted by a Peoples Democratic Party Senator-elect for Ogun East, Buruji Kashamu, over his possible extradition to the United States of America.
Mr. Kashamu is reportedly wanted in the U.S following his indictment in 1998 by a grand jury over alleged drug offences. The senator-elect has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing insisting that he is a victim of mistaken identity.
In an apparent bid to forestall any moves to forcefully extradite him to the U.S to stand trial, Mr. Kashamu, who is also a known PDP financier, sued the Inspector-General of Police and 11 others including the Nigerian Drug Laws Enforcement Agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Department of State Security.
The case is currently before Justice O.E Abang of the Federal High Court Lagos.
The petition signed by the group’s chairman, Modele Arise, said as much as the body was committed to the attainment of fairness and justice in Nigeria, it worried that virtually all cases relating to Mr. Kashamu tend to end up before “specific judges”.
“We have been watching very keenly the trend in the Federal High Court whereby cases filed by or filed against Buruji Kashamu or anything bothering on his interest, most especially on Ogun State political issues, end up before specific judges of the Federal High Court, Lagos”, it said.
The group pointed out that before now, all of Mr. Kashamu’s cases were handled by Justice C.B Archibong, who, it alleged, delivered judgments in favour of Mr. Kashamu until he was dismissed by the National Judicial Commission following complaints.
“The Honourable Judge (now dismissed) was churning out judgments at such alarming rate in favour of Buruji Kashamu and the appointed Ogun State PDP executive committee that some judgments were not more than two paragraphs long”, the group said. “The eventual dismissal of the judge from the service was related to the complaints against the judge on these judgments to the National Judicial Commission among several others”.
It noted that since the dismissal of Archibong, virtually all cases relating to Mr. Kashamu were now before Justice Abang, who, the group alleged, dispensed judgments in likewise manner as the disgraced former judge.
“Sir, you may crosscheck and see the number of Ogun State PDP exco cases already determined by Honourable Justice O.E Abang in favour of the Buruji Kashamu faction”, the group said in its petition, which was copied to the NJC.
“We are crying out now because we are informed that the case filed by Buruji Kashamu against his extradition to the United States has found its way to Honourable Justice O.E Abang. We are greatly disturbed by the fact that the outcome of this new case will not be different from the outcome of previous cases filed by Buruji Kashamu.
“There is no doubt in our minds that Buruji Kashamu will stop at nothing to ensure that he obtains a favourable judgment before the end of the current political dispensation. Sir, it is for this reason we hope that you will prevail in this situation by doing the needful and ensuring the promotion of justice”.