Hand over Kashamu to U.S., Nigerians tells Jonathan

Daily Independent, Nigerian Newspaper

 By Tunde Opeseitan  /   Snr Correspondent, Lagos

Some eminent Nigerians on Friday urged President Goodluck Jonathan to swiftly hand over a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Buruji Kashamu, to the United States Government for prosecution over alleged drug case.

Kashamu is wanted in the United States for allegedly importing drug illegally into the country.

A Court of Appeal sitting in Illinois, United States, had on Thursday declared him a fugitive, who had deliberately failed to present himself for criminal trial in the country over the alleged crime.

The court held: “Should he ever come to the United States, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, he could be put on trial in the Federal District Court in Chicago, since the indictment has no expiration date.

Responding to the judgment, some eminent Nigerians including the Executive Director of Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), Adetokunbo Mumini, and former Deputy National Chairman of the National Conscience Party (NCP), Amitolu Shittu, urged the Federal Government to capitalise on the opportunity provided by the judgment to make a strong statement about its seriousness to fight corruption and other forms of criminal activities in the country.

Speaking in a telephone interview with Saturday Independent, Mumini said the President must use the opportunity afforded by the ruling to tell the world about his commitment to fighting drug abuse, money laundering and other forms of corrupt practices, irrespective of the personalities involved.

According to Mumini, “I think the President should not see this as a party thing or whether the All Progressives Congress (APC) or any other political party is behind it.

“Kashamu is highly influential within the PDP and this is a good opportunity for the President to make a strong statement because any attempt to do otherwise will not speak well of Nigeria.”

Also, Shittu noted that it was important for the Federal Government to immediately extradite Kashamu to the United States to face trial over his indictment in connection with drug case.

Also reacting, Chairman of Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL), Debo Adeniran, said it would be a big disgrace and shame for Nigeria not to swiftly comply with the judgment, as any serious nation should not be seen shielding someone indicted for heinous crime such as drug trafficking.

Adeniran added that the honourable thing for the Federal Government was to comply with the judgment and allow Kashamu to face trial where he had allegedly committed the drug offence.

He said: “The case will only afford Nigerian authorities the opportunity to prove to the whole world that they have not ridiculed the judicial system in Nigeria.

“You see, before the judgment was given, a number of critics have asked the Federal Government and especially the PDP to isolate Kashamu to the effect that they should not continue to fraternise with an alleged criminal, who had been made the Southwest ?coordinator of the party. The party did not listen, but now that this judgment has been made by a competent court of law, we believe that it is an opportunity for the government of Goodluck Jonathan to prove that he is a law-abiding President, and that personally, he is a President who will not associate with a lawbreaker.”

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