Court Asks Kashamu to Explain Contempt Allegation against AGF, NDLEA

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By Tobi Soniyi in Abuja

A Federal High Court in Abuja has asked Senator Buruji Kashamu to justify the allegation of contempt he made against the  Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice and  the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) over claim of renewed moves to abduct him and extradite him to the United States of America (USA) to face trial for drug related offences.

In an application he filed recently, Kashamu accused the AGF and the NDLEA of being in contempt of the court’s ruling of July 1, 2015 dismissing an extradition application filed by former AGF, Mohammed Adoke (SAN).

He alleged that  by allegedly making fresh moves to arrest him and extradite him, the government was in contempt of the judgment of the court.

Adoke, had filed the application on May 28, 2015 upon an alleged United State government’s request asking the Nigerian government to submit Kashamu for extradition.

In a ruling on July 1, 2015, Justice Gabriel Kolawole held that his court was without the jurisdiction to hear the suit in the face of the subsisting orders and judgments of the Federal High Court, Lagos in suits Nos. FHC/L/CS/49/2010 and FHC/L/CS/508/2015 restraining the NDLEA and the AGF from entertaining any extradition request from the USA against Kashamu.

Kashamu had argued that two British courts had exonerated him from the same allegations.

Justice Kolawole noted that the various subsisting judgments and orders of the British and Nigerian courts had not been appealed or set aside by an appellate court.

When parties returned to court last Wednesday, Justice Kolawole asked Kashamu’s lawyer, C. I. Ndukwe, to justify his claim, in the new motion, that the NDLEA and AGF were in contempt of any order of the court.

The judge noted that his ruling of July 1, 2015 did not include any injunctive order which could be breached. He said he was not convinced that the alleged contemnors were actually in contempt.

Justice Kolawole noted that contempt proceedings, being a quasi-criminal one, requires the presence of the alleged contemnors in court during proceedings.

He said the court needed to be convinced that the AGF and NDLEA were actually in contempt before they could be summoned to attend proceedings.

The judge said if actually the AGF and NDLEA were taking fresh steps to arrest Kashamu and extradite him, the proper option opened to him (Kashamu) was to file a fresh suit.

Justice Kolawole adjourned to December 15 for Kashamu’s lawyer to justify his allegation of contempt and for the hearing of the objection filed by the NDLEA.