By Ibidapo Balogun
An Abuja Federal High Court on Wednesday dismissed the Federal Government’s suit seeking the arrest and extradition of Senator Buruji Kashamu to the United States over alleged drug charges.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole dismissed the suit for lack of jurisdiction and abuse of court process.
The judge also held that the suit was filed after orders were made by Justices Ibrahim Buba and O.E. Abang of the Federal High Court, Lagos, on the same subject matter.
He said following that development he lacked jurisdiction to entertain the case as entertaining it would constitute a gross abuse of court process, since the Lagos Federal High Court had coordinate jurisdiction with that of Abuja.
Justice Kolawole said: “The instant suit was initiated in flagrant abuse of and disobedience to the orders made by Justices Abang and Buba of the Federal High Court, Lagos, which have extinguished the current action by the applicant.
“It is in the interest of Justice and our jurisprudence that I do not dabble into the case by granting any orders for the arrest or extradition of the respondent.
“Therefore, to accede to the applicant’s request would be against the legal concept of judicial precedence and res judicata.
“This suit is, hereby, dismissed, with no orders made as to cost against the applicant.’’
Mr. Mohammed Hassan, Counsel to the Federal Government, had prayed the court to issue a bench warrant against Kashamu’s extradition.
Kashamu’s counsel, Dr Alex Izinyon (SAN), in his submission, urged the court to strike out the matter.
Izinyon argued that the orders made by Buba and Abang of the Federal High Court, Lagos, had extinguished the current action by the prosecution.
He urged the court to give effect to the orders made by the two courts and strike out the matter as filed by the prosecution.
Hassan, however, urged the court to discountenance the submissions of the defence counsel, saying the Federal High Court in Lagos had no supervisory jurisdiction over Federal High Court in Abuja.
He said that at the time the orders were made in Lagos, extradition process had not been initiated. Hassan prayed the court to nullify the orders, saying a court of coordinate jurisdiction could nullify an order made in error by another court.
Former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Mohammed Adoke (SAN), had initiated the action on May 28, 2015 seeking the xtradition of Kashamu to the U.S.
He attached an affidavit deposed to by Assistant U.S Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, Diane MacArthur, to the extradition request from the U.S government, dated April 27, 2015.
According to the U.S charges, Kashamu allegedly conspired with others to intentionally import “and did import” into the United States” quantities of mixtures containing heroin, between 1992 and 1995.
The offence was said to contravene Section 952(a) of Title 21, United States Code, and punishable under Section 960 of the same law.
If convicted, a drug baron, according to the charge, faces an imprisonment of not more than 10 years or a fine of up to $10 million in the case of an individual, or both.