Justice Okon Abang of the Lagos Judicial Division of the Federal High Court is currently encouraging some senior members of the legal profession to expose the judiciary to ridicule on behalf of one Mr. Buruji Kashamu who has been declared wanted by a Court in United States of America for alleged involvement in the importation of prohibited narcotics from 1993 to 1995.

In a suit, Mr. Kashamu sued the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) at the Lagos Judicial Division of the Federal High Court (FHC). In the said suit, the plaintiff challenged the moves to extradite him to the United State to stand trial for drug trafficking. In spite of the defence of the AGF that there was neither a request for extradition of the plaintiff by the United States nor was the Nigerian Government planning to surrender him for extradition, the trial judge, Justice Okechukwu Okeke (now retired) ruled that Mr. Kashamu should not be extradited.

Dissatisfied with the decision of the FHC, the AGF appealed to the Court of Appeal. Upon hearing the matter, the Court of Appeal set aside the judgment of the FHC on the ground that the allegation that there was a plan to extradite Mr. Kashamu was speculative and mere hearsay. The decision of Justice Okeke was therefore set aside by the Court of Appeal.

In a bid to tarnish the image of the Court of Appeal, Mr. Kashamu and his lawyers filed another application at the Court of Appeal, urging it to set aside the judgment on ground of bias on the part of the Presiding Justice, Justice Amina Augie, whom he said had influenced the panel. The scandalous application was dismissed.

In another development, Mr. Kashamu appealed to the Supreme Court, praying the apex Court to set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal and restore the judgment of the FHC. Although, the matter is pending at the Supreme Court, Mr. Kashamu has in a fresh suit filed at the Lagos judicial division of the Federal High Court, before Justice Okon Abang, asked the Court to stop his extradition to the United States. To give the impression that this is a fresh suit, Mr. Kashamu sued the Inspector-General of Police and Heads of 10 other agencies of the Federal Government. But since the AGF had been sued by the plaintiff on behalf of the Federal Government in an earlier suit, it is clear Mr. Kashamu cannot sue the Heads of the agencies of the Federal Government again.

Dr. Alex Iziyon, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, has filed the fresh suit at FHC, while the appeal pending at the Supreme Court on the same subject matter has not been determined.

Having encouraged the lawyers in this fresh suit to expose the judiciary to ridicule on behalf of the wanted alleged drug baron, as it is the current trend with Justice Abang, he ought to be investigated and appropriately sanctioned by the NJC.

Please, treat this petition with utmost urgency to save the image of the judiciary in particular and the Nigerian legal profession in general.

Sincerely yours,
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Olanrewaju Suraju
Chairman