Authorities of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency,NDLEA and embattled senator-elect, Prince Buruji Kashamu, have traded words over the latter’s plan to arrest and arraign the politician before the Federal High Court in Lagos, today.
While the NDLEA has berated Kashamu for pointing accusing fingers at former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party,PDP, Chief Olabode George, over his trouble with the agency, Kashamu on his part, wondered why the agency should act as spokesman for the two.
The NDLEA, in a statement by its Head, Public Affairs, Ofoyeju Mitchell, disclosed that preparation to drag Kashamu to the Federal High Court today had been intensified, explaining that its action was sequel to a formal request received from the embassy of the United States of America for Kashamu’s extradition, over alleged heroin smuggled into the country 20 years ago.
He, therefore, advised the politician to act honorably by concentrating on the facts of the issue as he prepares to appear before the Federal High court today rather than playing a blame game.
Besides, the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Ogun State, has hailed moves by the NDLEA to extradite Kashamu to the US over alleged drug related charges.
Mitchell, in the statement made available to Vanguard, said: “He should act honourably and concentrate on the facts of his case rather than dragging former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, Chief Olabode George, into his personal problem. The fact is that a formal request for his extradition had been received from the Embassy of the United States of America.
According to official report, Kashamu has been on the wanted list of both the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, DEA, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE, of the Department of Homeland Security, DHS.’’
But Kashamu, in a swift reaction by his media aide, Austin Oniyokor, said the NDLEA had turned itself into a mouthpiece for Obasanjo and George.
He said: “We do not know when the NDLEA became spokespersons for Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Chief Bode George. We do not need them to tell us to address our issues. We are addressing our issues. We have told the court of the planned abduction of Kashamu by the NDLEA. The court had given an order asking all the parties to stay action pending the determination of the suit which had been fixed for Wednesday.
“If the NDLEA is saying they are not acting on the directive of Obasanjo and George, why would they go against the court’s injunction? Are they lawless or are they saying Nigeria is no longer being governed by the rule of law and due process? Our facts have been put in the public domain. We have told the world about the planned abduction,” he said .
On the reason Kashamu resisted arrest, Oniyokor explained: “My boss has refused to see them (NDLEA officials) because they could not produce a warrant of arrest. If they provide it, Kashamu will hand himself over to them . But as it is now, they have not produced any warrant of arrest as I speak with you.
But the NDLEA’s spokesperson stated earlier that the identity card of any narcotics agency officer serves the same purpose as the warrant of arrest, maintaining that the agency had not acted outside the ambit of the stipulated laws.
Ogun APC hails NDLEA’s moves
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Ogun State, has hailed moves by the NDLEA to extradite Kashamu to the US over alleged drug related charges.
In a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Sola Lawal, the party said the NDLEA had lived up to the integrity and impartiality which it is expected to uphold.
While distancing the people of the state from Kashamu, the party said: “People should not mistake the person of Buruji Kashamu, who won election in the state, as what our people stand for.’’
PDP group demands Kashamu’s resignation
Some members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP from South West zone are calling on the embattled senator-elect to resign immediately as the party leader in the zone.
In a statement, the party members from Ogun State, led by Otunba Olugbemi Olubunmi, under the aegis of Egbe-Odo PDP, said Kashamu must step down from his position as the South-West leader of the party with a view to clearing his name.