Buruji Kashamu is certainly not a stranger to verbal attacks but this time, two lawyers are at it while he watches. His lawyer, Ajibola Oluyede below replies Festus Keyamo, another lawyer, who stood in support of the extradition of the senator-elect to the US to answer to drug offences allegation.
My attention has been drawn to a report published in The Punch newspaper of today, Thursday, 23rd April, 2015 attributed to Mr. Festus Keyamo with regard to the abduction plans against Prince Buruji Kashamu.
I am indeed surprised that Festus Keyamo (my learned friend) would make such a statement when he knows that I am involved in the matter and he has every access to me for clarification and information.
However, I have seen that he has probably made his statement without regard to his learning as a lawyer and his undoubted proficiency in the profession.
The statement exhibits a total ignorance of the incontrovertible facts of the matter. Ordinarily, no lawyer would make a statement in those circumstances.
The first notable error in the statement is the reference to the morality of presentation of Kashamu as the PDP candidate for Ogun East Senatorial District elections.
I suppose that some politicians are used to imposition of candidates and may not reckon with the fact that some people can actually emerge by democratic means and that under Nigerian electoral laws the Party no longer has the unquestionable discretion it used to have to interfere once a candidate has been democratically elected at primaries as the candidate of the Party. This is notwithstanding the various appeal panels that may be used sometimes in an attempt to truncate the will of the members of the party.
It would also appear that morality in the eyes of politicians does not accommodate the fundamental and internationally accepted standard for human rights which stipulates that a person is presumed innocent until proved guilty.
This is a right expressly preserved by Section 36 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution and I would urge Festus to refresh his memory in this regard again to stop the erosion of his admirable appetite for human rights activism.
Buruji Kashamu is not just merely claiming that he is innocent; two different courts in England, in two different judgments, have found and declared that BURUJI KASHAMU is innocent of the allegations made against him in the US court:
The first is the English High Court of Justice (Kings Bench Division) in its Judgment of January 2000 in which it said that the US AUTHORITIES ACTUALLY KNEW that Kashamu is innocent when they suppressed evidence of an identification parade in which the ring leader of the gang (that allegedly confessed that they had a West African link called “ALAJI) said that Buruji Kashamu was not the man involved with them.
The English High Court for this reason nullified and set aside the favourable judgment obtained by the U.S authorities against Kashamu on the basis of this suppressed exculpatory evidence.
The second judgment is that of 10th January 2003 in which District Judge Tim Workman expressly found (after 3 years of trial involving extensive oral evidence from both sides and copious documentary evidence) that the U.S Government had provided false evidence and eventually held that Kashamu was not involved in the crimes alleged and should be discharged.
The U.S authorities did not appeal against these judgments and have made no move whatsoever in the last 11 years to extradite Kashamu.
Moreover, Judge Norgle of the US District Court of the Northern District of Illinois before whom the alleged indictment against Kashamu is pending has held in his ruling of 2010, on an application by Kashamu to that court to dismiss the indictment, that Kashamu is not a fugitive from justice because, as admitted by the U.S. Government, he has never been in the United States and did not at any time escape from US custody. The English Bow Street Magistrate Court legally released him from unjustifiable incarceration in January 2003 after two judicial victories over the US. Government.
Any good lawyer will agree that in those circumstances Kashamu has no need to prove his innocence, but rather it is the U.S Government (if it believes it has additional material or arguments) to approach the Nigerian authorities by due process to establish that the two British courts were wrong.
It is therefore ludicrous for anyone to keep insisting that Kashamu has a duty to clear his name or to conclude like Festus that Kashamu is going to be convicted or extradited.
The second significant error in Festus’ outburst is the misrepresentation to the Nigerian public that the US Government has asked for Kashamu’s extradition.
The truth, which the Attorney General has himself confirmed in a case pending in the Supreme Court of Nigeria and by letter issued on 25th January 2015, is that the U.S Government has never asked for the extradition of Kashamu at any time up till today 23rd April 2015.
Indeed if the US Government had merely formally requested for Kashamu’s extradition in accordance with the Nigerian Extradition Act, as correctly analysed by Festus, no one would have been making any complaints or writing to the Nigerian Human Rights Commission. Kashamu would simply have faced them in court whenever the Attorney General is released from a subsisting restraining order made by a Nigerian Federal High Court in 2014 in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/49/2010, to even consider such a request.
The reason there has been this level of uproar (giving every media tiger an opportunity to make comments) is because, rather than request for Kashamu’s extradition through due process) the US Government is being misled by some Nigerian politicians into attempting a kidnap of Mr. Kashamu in violation of Nigerian sovereignty and laws, international law and even US. Law (See: the Mansfield Act US SS 2019).
No Nigerian Government, even under the worst of military dictatorships, should allow that.
The only Nigerian government that has ever allowed a Nigerian citizen to be so kidnaped by the US Government is the Obasanjo Presidency in 2000 when it closed its eyes to the abduction of Lanre Shittu by US. DEA agents. The presumed guilt of the person involved is immaterial it is the principle that is important.
Today, it is Kashamu. Tomorrow, it could be someone Festus Keyamo likes.
What makes this abduction plan against Kashamu even more despicable is that the target of this abduction plan is now a senator-elect of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Patriotism, if not even morality, should inspire right thinking people to speak and act against this plan.
Has anyone ever wondered what the US would do to Nigeria if the Nigerian Government had the temerity to plan an abduction of a Senator of the United States? Not only would the highest Government officials, including the Nigerian President, suffer the precious US visa restrictions, the entire country would suffer for it.
The last time a Nigerian Government tried to abduct its own citizen, Umaru Dikko, from the U.K., we all know how the then Military Head of State suffered humiliation and international opprobrium which cost him election three times in democratic Nigeria before memory having faded he was now able to win the Presidency this year. We should learn from our past mistakes.
Even if the US Government still sometimes regards and treats Nigeria as a Banana Republic, must we really play true to that profile?
I advise commentators to take some time to consider the true facts before relying on hearsay and unfounded and prejudiced conclusions as a basis for forming their own opinions.