By Samuel Ogundipe
Despite a ruling by a Federal High Court in Lagos Tuesday afternoon ordering it to cease and desist pending future judicial pronouncement, a defiant National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, has vowed to maintain its days-long siege on the home of Ogun State politician, Prince Buruji Kashamu.
The home of Kashamu, located in the affluent Lekki suburb of Lagos, has been under the occupation of men of the anti-narcotics agency since the wee hours of Saturday.
Barrister Ajibola Oluyede, counsel to Mr. Kashamu, said he approached the court because the agency failed to show a valid warrant of arrest against his client.
Justice Ibrahim Buba of the FHC, Ikoyi, Lagos, said the operatives should vacate Kashamu’s property, and ordered the police to ensure that there’s no altercation during the process.
“All the NDLEA operatives, agents and principals that have been laying siege to the applicant’s house should vacate the place. There should be no room for self help,” Buba ruled Tuesday.
The judge based his ruling on a subsisting court order Kashamu, a senator-elect from Ogun East, had secured last month which restrained all federal agencies from incarcerating him, or even impeding his movement at all.
But the NDLEA, which says its acting on a request for extradition of Kashamu by the United States, said it has not received the ruling, hence the siege will linger.
“As I speak to you,” says the agency’s spokesman Mitchel Ofoyeju, “I have not received any official document to verify court ruling.”
“I only have news reports from you gentlemen of the press,” he said during a telephone interview with the WESTERN POST.
When asked if his agency will vacate the politician’s house upon confirmation of court judgement, Ofoyeju said the agency will abide by court ruling, but only after a thorough examination of the court papers by the agency’s Directorate of Legal Matters.
“NDLEA is a law-abiding agency, and we will not disobey court ruling. So if the court asks us to vacate Kashamu’s house, we will obey the court but only our Directorate of Legal Matters can certify the court ruling and instruct accordingly,” he explained.
Ofoyeju said Oluyede’s claim that his agency does not have valid arrest warrant is untrue, and said “our legal team will show him the provisional warrant we have if he requests for it.”
He also told Western Post that the agency is acting on the instruction from the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Bello Adoke, who in turn is acting on the extradition request from the United States. He also said he doesn’t know when the extradition request was made, but added that the “attorney-general’s claim that he received the request penultimate Monday should suffice.”