Press statement on the travails of Buruji Kashamu

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The travails of Senator-elect Buruji Kashamu – being text of the press statement issued by the Public Interest Lawyers League.

The siege laid to the home of Buruji Kashamu by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the Nigeria Police is nearing its fourth day. 

The facts leading to the siege are well too known that they don't bear repeating here. For the record, the Public Interest Lawyers League (PILL) frowns at the crude, gestapo-style manner that the NDLEA, Police and the AGF have conducted themselves since the news of the siege broke last Saturday morning. 

The dictates and the demands of the law are not too onerous to be complied with by statutory agencies and persons charged with the responsibility of protecting its sanctity, rather than the recourse to might, power and the bullying tactics reminiscent of the military that Buruji Kashamu is today experiencing at the behests of the afore-mentioned statutory authorities.

That Buruji Kashamu is wanted in the United States of America for drug related charges doesn't make him any less a citizen of Nigeria that must be hounded and stripped of the fundamental liberties guaranteed by Sections 34, 35, 37 and 41 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,1999. Buruji Kashamu, whatever the substance of the criminal charge against him in the United States of America, is a Nigerian citizen and his rights must be defended against the totalizing power of the United States of America, the same way the United States of America consistently defended the likes of Dick Cheney who were fingered in the notorious Halliburton bribe scandal, acting through our own statutory agencies such as National Drug Law Enforcement Agency. If the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, through the AGF, has any extradition request from the United States of America, the proper thing the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency should do is to secure a warrant of arrest against Buruji Kashamu and institute extradition proceedings before the High Court of Justice. We are at pain as to finding the legal basis for the current siege laid by narcotics and security operatives to the home of Buruji Kashamu, contrary to Section 37 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999. The statement credited to the Attorney-General of the Federation, which is to the effect that the United States of America's request for extradition of Buruji Kashamu makes the ongoing siege to the home of Buruji Kashamu legal, is utterly ludicrous. Extradition request does not serve as a warrant of arrest!

We note, based on what is already discernible from the public media space, that the government of the United States of America attempted twice to secure the extradition of Buruji Kashamu from the United Kingdom and twice it failed. We ask: does the government of the United States of America have new, fresh and compelling evidence to establish basis for its renewed extradition request to the Nigerian government? If it does, why have our narcotics and security operatives adopted the bullying, gestapo-style tactics that suggest the sinister motive of attempts to kidnap Citizen Kashamu by any means other than legal? If there are new, fresh and compelling facts and evidence, let the Attorney-General of the Federation present them to the scrutiny of our laws and our court. 

For us, we join other voices to condemn the actions of our narcotics and security operatives. Let it be known that we will join to defend the rights of Buruji Kashamu whenever and wherever extradition proceedings are instituted against him.

Abdul Mahmud, ESQ



Monday 25th May, 2015

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