By John Uli
The intrigues in politics can be fierce. The mudslinging and smear campaigns can be gruelling. The political arena is often not for the faint-hearted. Fighting in the political arena, however, offers an opportunity to excel, to serve oneâ€™s fellow citizens in the best way possible. When he appeared on Nigeriaâ€™s political stage, it was not to flex his financial muscle, but to extend his hands of generosity to thousands of Nigerians within his reach â€“to do in larger measure what he has always done. He works selflessly for his community, constituency and the common good of his home state, Ogun State, and fatherland, Nigeria.
Today, however, he has become of the most hunted law-abiding citizens in the country. Today, in cahoots with the Americans, the Nigerian government is plotting to extradite one of its humane, humble and philanthropic senators. Since 2015, the government of Nigeria â€“being led through the nose by the attorney general of the federation â€“has been working against Buruji Kashamu, the lawmaker representing Ogun East senatorial district, by any means possible.
In a 2016 letter emanating from the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, the Nigerian government had surreptitiously approached the American government through the US Embassy in Nigeria on how best they can ship out Senator Kashamu from Nigeria to America. Why should a Nigerian government and its minister of justice seek to abrogate the fundamental human rights of one of its distinguished senators? Why is the attorney general bent on having Kashamu extradited to the US? Why will the attorney general and his lieutenants in the Ministry of Justice continue to drag the name of a sitting senator through the mud?
In that letter, the attorney general coached the American government on how best Kashamu can be forcibly shipped out of Nigeria. Like a subservient individual, the Nigerian government wrote the American ambassador: â€œIn thanking Your Excellency, the Ambassador of the United States of America for the valuable cooperation, I am to avail this opportunity to renew the assurances of the highest consideration and esteemed regards of the Hon. Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.â€ That was after providing the strategy that the federal government felt would nail the distinguished senator.
In 2015, two judges of the Federal High Court, Justices Okon Abang and Ibrahim Buba, in separate rulings had nullified the provisional warrant of arrest obtained by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) against the senator. The judges had also restrained the NDLEA from arresting Kashamu in furtherance of extraditing him to the US.
The federal government will not give up as it got a ruling quashing those orders. But for a distinguished lawmaker, who believes in unwavering political activism, inalienable rights to freedom and fundamental human rights, Kashamu had approached the Supreme Court asking it to enforce his rights.
Without fear or favour, one can conclude that the appellate court erred in law and caused a miscarriage of justice by ruling against earlier rulings. For any honest Nigerians can see from the senatorâ€™s affidavit before the Court of Appeal â€“which was full of facts â€“shows the conclusion of a plot by the Attorney General of the Federation using the instrument of state to abduct and transport the lawmaker to the US to face alleged offences in respect of which he had earlier been exonerated.
I am sure that the public is not unaware of the AGFâ€™s grand scheme. In the letter cited earlier, the honourable minister of justice further urged the US government: â€œI, however, wish to state that for any fresh application for extradition of the same person to be properly filed in court, at this moment, the United States of America will have to submit a fresh request for his extradition, since the earlier request has been dismissed by Justice Kolawole.â€
As a neutral onlooker in the ongoing saga, I will join millions of other conscientious Nigerians to tell and warn the Minister of Justice to avoid being used by some interests to punish an innocent and philanthropic Nigerian â€“also a distinguished senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria â€“ in a bid to satisfy the desire of some political opponents or external forces whose interests are purely to seek and gain political advantage.
Aluta Continua, Victoria Acerta
â€“ULI, a Public Affairs Analyst wrote in from Abuja