By Akinwale Akintunde
The senator representing Ogun East senatorial district, Mr. Buruji Kashamu, has filed an appeal against the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Lagos, which gave the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) the nod to begin extraction process against him to the United State of America (USA) to face drug related charges offences.
Three man-panel of the Court of Appeal gave the judgment last Friday, following the two separate appeals filed by the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) against the ruling of the Federal High Court in Lagos restraining NDLEA and other security agencies from arresting and extraditing the senator.
The panel led by Justice Yagarta Nimper, nullified a ruling by Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Lagos, which prohibited the arrest of Kashamu by NDLEA.
Justice Abang of the Federal High Court had on May 25, 2015, restrained the NDLEA and other agencies of the federal government perpetually from arresting, detaining, attacking or otherwise effecting the abduction of Kashamu upon charges based on allegations of drug trafficking levelled against him by the United States Government.
The judge also set aside and nullified the warrant for the arrest of Kashamu by Justice Saliu Saidu.
However, in unanimous decision delivered by Justice Nimpar, with Justices Joseph Ikyegh and Anthony Ogakwu, upheld the argument of the counsel to the Attorney-General of the Federation, Chief Emeka Ngige (SAN) that Justice Abang was in error in granting some of the injunctive reliefs sought by Kashamu upon inadmissible evidence.
The court said the senator was not above the law and should be arrested if there is a need.
But in the two notices of appeal to the Supreme Court by his lawyers, Kashamu urged the apex Court to enforce his rights, adding that the Court of Appeal erred in law and occasioned a miscarriage of justice by dismissing his objections.
Kashamu further urged the court to set aside the Court of Appeal judgment which dismissed his fundamental rights.
“The lower court misdirected itself when it held that the appellant has not made out a case of breach or likelihood of breach of his fundamental rights,” Kashamu said.
The senator argued that his affidavit before the Court of Appeal was full of facts showing the conclusion of a plot by the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and others to abduct and transport him to the United States to face trial over alleged offences in respect of which he had been exonerated.
“There was uncontroverted evidence before the lower court that in 2000, during the Presidency of Olusegun Obasanjo, an illegal abduction was carried out against a Nigeria citizen with the assistance of government officials with the consent of the said President Olusegun Obasanjo.
“The lower court was wrong in failing to see that all those information that were available to the appellant were enough to justify an apprehension of likelihood of breach of his fundamental right to liberty through his abduction by the respondents and transportation to the USA.
“The decision of the lower court is contrary to the established position of the law that any person who apprehends that his fundamental rights has been, is being or is likely to be contravened is entitled to bring an action to enforce his fundamental rights,” Kashamu said.
He further argued that the Court of Appeal erred in assuming that he ought to wait until the plot to have him abducted had been executed before approaching the court for redress. He said he provided enough evidence to justify the protection of his fundamental right to liberty, which he said the Court of Appeal overlooked.
According the appellant, the Court of Appeal also erred when it dismissed his notice of preliminary objection challenging the appeal’s competence and its jurisdiction to entertain it.
The senator said the Court of Appeal’s decision was contrary to constitutional provision that an appeal against an interlocutory decision must be filed within 14 days of the decision appealed against, which he said the AGF failed to comply with.
According to him, the Court of Appeal also erred in failing to see that the AGF had no locus standi to appeal against parts of Justice Okon Abang’s judgment which were in the interest of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) chairman, the National Security Adviser (NSA) and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), all of who did not appeal against the adverse decisions.
“The decision of the lower court is contrary to established position of the law as laid down in a plethora of judicial authorities that it is only a person against whom an adverse decision of a court is made that has the vires to appeal against it,” he said.
Besides, the appellant said the Court of Appeal violated the legal principle that a ground of appeal must arise from the judgment or ruling of the court appealed against. He urged the Supreme Court to hold that the Court of Appeal’s decision was contrary to the principle that leave of court must be sought and obtained before appealing in respect of fresh issues that were not canvassed before the trial court.