US To Request Nigeria to Extradite Alleged Drug Baron Buruji Kashamu
The US government will ask Nigeria to extradite Mr. Buruji Kashamu to face charges filed in a Chicago federal court arising from an investigation into international drug ring, US prosecutors said on Friday.
Kashamu is currently holding sway as the Chairman of Mobilisation and Organisation Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party.
Speaking to newsmen Friday a Deputy in the US court room, Mr. Eric Bright said there was need for Nigerian government to allow Kashamu to pay for his alleged misdeeds without wasting time.
The United States Court sitting in Chicago released his case file number for the first time and urge President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to hand him over.
He dictated Kashamu’s file case with suit No 94CR172, noting that the PDP chieftain was intentionally delaying the case from proceeding.
Mr. Bright said, “We learnt that Alhaji Kashamu is deliberately delaying his case before the court. We are waiting for him to appear because the case before him is still pending.
We, therefore urge Nigerian government to release him. We learnt that the man in question is a powerful politician in Nigeria.”
Kashamu was indicted by a US court in 1998, which alleged that he was a key player of an international drug smuggling ring.
He was charged in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Chicago along thirteen persons, with conspiracy to import heroin into the United States and distribute.
On August 18, of this year, Kashamu had filed an order of mandamus (motion for dismissal) against his indictment by a US court, for allegedly attempting to import heroin into the country 16 years ago.
But, Justice Richard Norgle in his ruling turned down Kashamu’s request and urged him to submit himself for trial.
In the wake of the saga, Mr. Kashamu had repeatedly maintained that it was a case of mistaken identity and his late brother was the criminal.
But the U.S government has consistently stood its ground that the felon is Buruji, and not his brother. The government of the U.S still regards Buruji Kashamu as a drug kingpin and a fugitive from the United States law, according to court documents obtained by the media.
The official reiterated that it has never withdrawn its warrant of arrest against Kashamu maintaining further that the charges as to Kashamu remains and request the Nigerian government act responsibly and hand him over.
The Royal Court of Justice in England presided over by Lord Justice Pill and Mr. Justice Bell had, in 2003, granted unconditionally release to Kashamu when the US Justice Department could not substantiate its claims that he (Kashamu) was the most wanted man who was allegedly mentioned by others arrested as their principal conspirator.
But, the Chicago District Court Judge Norgle who, apart from faulting the British government’s handling of an extradition case filed against Prince Kashamu claimed that it was the testimony and evidence produced by the Nigerian government that led to his release in England.
The United States Government recently accused Buruji Kashamu of using fraudulent means to obtain a German Visa in 2009. The U.S government notes in its brief that Kashamu communicated with German officials using the name “Buruji Kashamu Shodipe” instead of Buruji Kashamu. According to the U.S government, Kashamu was indicted in the United States under the name “Buruji Kashamu” and the warrant of arrest against him was issued in that same name.
It is the position of the U.S that any confusion by German officials that led to the issuance of a Schengen visa to Kashamu may have been caused by Kashamu’s use of the surname “Shodipe” in his application and communications with the German consulate.
Prince Kashamu, in a statement through his Attorney’s chambers in the United States has said, “I am not a drug peddler as the US court claimed. I have been the one who has been going to various courts in the US since 2009 to remove the stain of the purported indictment which was erroneously made against me because I am convinced that such a move would not only clear my name but also put a stop to the blackmail and the campaign of calumny against my person.”
Kashamu a strong PDP stalwart in the Southwest is planning to contest the gubernatorial election
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