By Eric Ikihlae
Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court, Abuja has fixed July 1 for ruling on whether or not he could proceed with the extradition proceedings against a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), Buruji Kashamu.
The judge chose the date yesterday after listening to arguments from Muslim Hassan (representing the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Ajibola Oluyede (for Kashamu) on the issue.
At the commencement of proceedings yesterday, Hassan noted Kashamu’s absence in court and drew the judge’s attention to the development and sought the issuance of a warrant for his arrest.
He argued that extradition proceedings, being a criminal one requires the presence of the respondent, against whom a charge was pending in the United States.
Hassan contended that the court could not take any step in the case until Kashamu was present.
“This is a criminal case. We urge that a warrant of arrest be issued by virtue of Section 6 of the Extradition,” Hassan said.
He faulted the argument by Ajibola that the proceedings before the court was no longer necessary in view of two decisions by Juatices Okon Abang and Ibrahim Buba of the Lagos division of the court nullifying the extradition proceedings.
He insisted that the judges in Lagos lacked the powers to nullify proceedings before their brother judge when they do not have supervisory jurisdiction over the court in Abuja. He argued that the orders by the Lagos division were far reaching and should be set aside.
Hassan noted that the cases on which the Lagos judges gave their decisions were in relation to Kashamu’s allegation that there were plans to abduct him and transfer him abroad illegally. He said the orders by the Lagos judges were on Kashamu’s claim of abduction and illegal deportation.
Hassan said the extradition proceedings was a legal way of transferring an individual wanted abroad for alleged criminal offences.
He urged the court to set aside the orders made in respect of the extradition proceedings pending in Abuja by Buba and Abang, which Oluyede tendered yesterday.
“It is wrong for Justice Abang to nullify a process not before him, which proceedings have not commenced here. I urge the court to set siade the orders,” Hassan said.
Oluyede, while tendering copies of the decisions by the Lagos orders, stressed the aspect where the judges nullified the extradition proceedings and any other steps to extradite Kashamu in relation to the request by the United States government.
He argued that the “current action has been extinguished by the decision of this court as per Abang J. The only thing left is for this court to decide the kind of burial to be accorded it”.
Justice Kolawole, after listening to parties, said he needed time to consider all the documents submitted by parties before giving his ruling. He adjourned to July 1 for ruling.