By Ibidapo Balogun
Officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have explained why they placed Senator-elect Buruji Kashamu from Ogun State under house arrest.
In a statement signed by its Head, Public Affairs, Ofoyeju Mitchell, the agency said they stormed his Lekki, Lagos residence because of a formal request for his extradition by the United States.
NDLEA said: “This is sequel to a formal request for extradition received from the Embassy of the United States of America pending his arraignment before the Federal High Court on Monday, May 25th, 2015.
“Kashamu has been a target of both the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for over 20 years and was indicted in the Northern District of Illinois, United States on charges brought against him by ICE.
“Kashamu, who U.S. court documents allege was known in his days as the leader of a prolific heroin trafficking ring based in Chicago, Illinois as “God,” “Daddy,” and “Kasmal,” is wanted to stand trial on charges of conspiracy and importation of controlled substances, namely heroin, into the United States dating back to 1994.
“Kashamu, who holds dual Nigerian/Beninese citizenship, has taken multiple pre-emptive actions to thwart U.S. extradition efforts such as making fanciful claims that his is a case of mistaken identity, and that his deceased brother is responsible for the crimes he is being sought after in the United States. “Kashamu has filed injunctions in federal court both in the Northern District of Illinois, United States and in Nigeria to prevent his arrest and prosecution.
At the time of his arrest, NDLEA officers allowed Kashamu’s legal attorneys – Daniel Onamusi and Barrister Oluyede – and close family members including his wife and adult daughters to speak with him and attest to his well-being.
“The NDLEA has assured Kashamu that he will be afforded all the protections of the law and will be given his day in court. Assertions that he will be bundled up under cover of darkness and whisked out of the country are untrue and should not be given any credence.
“We expect Kashamu as a senator-elect to demonstrate confidence in the Nigerian judicial system and not insinuate otherwise”.