I have never been to USA before & cannot be extradited –...

I have never been to USA before & cannot be extradited – Sen. Kashamu


Senator Buruji Kashamu has accused his political foes of twisting the ruling of a Unit­ed States (US) court over his ex­tradition trial.

Kashumu, who represents Ogun East Senatorial District in the National Assembly, declared that it would be illegal to begin another extradition proceeding against him over alleged drug dealing in the US.

The lawmaker recalled that similar cases had been dismissed by two courts in the United King­dom and a Federal High Court in Nigeria.

Kashamu told journalists at the weekend in Lagos that the rul­ing by the US Appeal Court was twisted by a section of the media, adding that his travails were polit­ically motivated.

He said that the ruling was to the effect that the US police were free to initiate extradition pro­ceedings against anyone in collab­oration with a local police, stress­ing, “that does not mean the court is telling them they have the right to enter into our territory to ar­rest me. That does not mean our police will say come and kidnap him”.

“But what we are saying is that they cannot bring another extradition against me, because the ones they brought to London were dismissed; the one in Nige­ria was dismissed, he said.

Senator Kashamu stated that allegations of illicit drug dealing in the US against him were base­less because he had never been to America, adding that only a fugi­tive could be extradited, which he was not.

He therefore appealed to the Federal Government, which he noted believes in the rule of law, not to fall into the trap of his po­litical enemies to extradite him at whatever cost, “which will amount to an abduction case.”

Kashamu also asked the gov­ernment to defend the country’s territorial integrity, lamenting that a situation where British investiga­tors for instance, come to Nigeria to conduct investigations, to the extent of taking witnesses away to testify abroad, should be stopped.

According to him, the pre­sent media reports are part of the efforts orchestrated by his politi­cal opponents to call “a dog a bad name in order to hang it.”

Tracing the genesis of the saga, Kashamu said that while on a business trip to the UK in 1998, he was arrested at City Airport in London and detained, pursu­ant to an arrest warrant issued on the basis of an indictment in the US in which the name Alaji had been introduced as a party to an alleged offence of importation of narcotics.

He denied ever visiting or re­siding in the US, as well as being involved in any business not to talk of a criminal activity what­soever in the US.

Kashanu disclosed that his lawyers discovered some excul­patory evidence, which the US government had concealed from the courts in the extradition pro­ceedings.

The evidence, he said, was the outcome of a photo identification parade for the purpose of identi­fying the Alaji held in the US At­torney’s office.

Kashamu said: “They had tak­en a mug shot of me and placed it with seven other photographs of black males who had facial hair that was similar to mine and were about my age too.

“After viewing the photo line-up, Fillmore, one of the accused, said that the third photograph in the line-up looked like a bad pho­tograph of the man they were looking for.

“He also declared that the second, fourth, sixth, seventh and eighth photographs did not at all look like the said Alaji; my mug shot was the seventh in the line-up; that was one of the photo­graphs that Fillmore said did not at all look like the wanted kingpin.

“So, my lawyers immediately commenced a Habeas Corpus (a recourse in law whereby a person can report an unlawful detention or imprisonment before a court) application in the High Court of Justice, Queens Bench Division, for my release and the vacation of the committal order made by the Court.

“The English High Court in its judgment delivered on the 6th of October, 2000, agreed that the order for my committal was null and void, having been the product of unfair proceedings in which the U.S. Government had suppressed exculpatory evidence.

Kashamu said the US authori­ties did not appeal the decision but re-arrested him and commenced a second extradition proceeding at the Bow Street Magistrate Court in England before District Judge Tim Workman.

He said the US authorities produced several documents to refute the position that it was a case of mistaken identity and the person sought was his broth­er Adewale Kashamu, including documents from the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) which sought to estab­lish that my brother Adewale had died in the 1980s.