Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Court rules on Kashamu’s case Nov 18

A Federal High Court in Lagos has fixed November 18, 2015 to decide on the case filed by Mr. Buruji Kashamu against the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency and the Attorney General of the Federation.

Kashamu is seeking an order of perpetual injunction barring the NDLEA and the AGF from taking over his property, including a 24-flat housing estate at Egbe and several hectares of land on Lekki Peninsular, Lagos State, worth over N20bn.

Justice Ibrahim Buba adjourned for ruling on Wednesday following argument from the parties.

The AGF, in its preliminary objection, described Kashamu’s suit as premature, incompetent and an abuse of court processes and asked the court to dismiss it.

A counsel from the office of the AGF, Mr. Oyin Koleosho, said Kashamu failed to substantiate his claim that the AGF had or was about to take possession of Kashamu’s property.

“It is our contention that there are no evidences backing up the averments made by the applicant.

“There is nothing to show that the applicant has been prevented from owning property or is about to be divested of the ones he owns.

“It is in view of this that Your Lordship should dismiss the applicant’s suit with substantive cost,” Koleosho said

The AGF also challenged the subject matter jurisdiction of the court to entertain Kashamu’s case.

Koleosho argued that since Kashamu’s case bordered on landed property title, the Federal High Court had no jurisdiction to entertain it.

But Kashamu’s lawyer, Mr. Ajibola Oluyede, said Kashamu was in court to protect his fundamental right to own property as enshrined under sections 43 and 44 of the 1999 Constitution.

“That is the reason we have come to the court this time round to protect the right of the applicant to own property.

“This action is not pursuing a right in property, the action is pursuing a right to own property. The right in property and the right to own property are two different things.

“It is on the basis of these facts and on the basis of this law that we urge Your Lordship to discountenance this argument,” Oluyede said.

On its own part, the counsel who appeared for the NDLEA, Mr. Oigoga Ichakpa, said the agency was also opposed to Kashamu’s suit and had filed a counter-affidavit.

Ichakpa adopted the counter-affidavit and urged the judge to dismiss Kashamu’s case.

Buba adjourned till November 18, 2014 for judgment.

Kashamu, whose election into the Senate was recently nullified by the tribunal,  filed the suit following the failed effort by the NDLEA to extradite him to the United States of America, where he is said to be wanted for alleged drug-trafficking offences.

The move by the NDLEA to extradite Kashamu had hit a brick wall on account of a May 27, 2015 judgment of Justice Okon Abang, which was subsequently reaffirmed by Justice Buba on June 23, 2015.

Oluyede, in the new suit, argued that the NDLEA and the AGF would be violating Kashamu’s fundamental right to own property under sections 43 and 44 of the 1999 Constitution, if they went ahead to seize his properties.

Kashamu, in his affidavit, claimed to have acquired the property by dint of hard work and legitimate business as opposed to the respondents’ allegation that the property were acquired with proceeds of drug-trafficking.