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N20b Assets Suit: Kashamu, NDLEA Get New Date

Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court in Lagos will on November 10 ?rule on whether to disqualify himself from adjudicating a suit filed by Senator Buruji Kashamu.

Kashamu is praying the court to restrain the Federal Government from seizing his property worth N20 billion over alleged drug trafficking offences.

He sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) from taking possession of his property.

Justice Buba had earlier restrained the NDLEA from arresting or extraditing Kashamu to the United States, where he is allegedly wanted.

But NDLEA asked the judge to hands off the case.?

It said since Justice Buba, on June 23, reaffirmed a May 27 order by Justice Okon Abang of the same court stopping Kashamu’s arrest, he might not be fair in the case.

The NDLEA lawyer, Mr. J. N. Sunday, who asked the court to vacate the restraining order, claimed the injunction amounted to preventing federal agencies from discharging their constitutional duties.

NDLEA asked the judge to withdraw from the case on the basis that he might not reach a different conclusion in the fresh case having ruled in Kashamu’s favour before.

According to the agency, the case file should be returned to the Chief Judge, Justice Ibrahim Auta, for reassignment to another judge.

Meanwhile, the AGF, represented by Mr. Oyin Koleosho filed a preliminary objection to the action.

It said the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit, which it described as a “tortuous act.” that does not fall within Chapter IV of the 1999 Constitution.

Kashamu said he learnt of moves by NDLEA and AGF to seize his property, including a 24-flat housing estate at Egbe and several hectares of land on Lekki Peninsula, Lagos.

According to him, he acquired the property, which he said is worth N20billion, by dint of hard work and through his legitimate business.

He said contrary to NDLEA’s alleged claim, the property were not proceeds of drug trafficking.

Kashamu’s lawyer, Mr. Ajibola Oluyede, said his client’s rights to own property as guaranteed by sections 43 and 44 of the 1999 Constitution would be breached if the respondents were not perpetually restrained.

Due to Justice Buba’s absence on Tuesday, a new date was fixed by his registrars for the ruling.

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