Judge Refuses To withdraw From Kashamu’s Suit

Judge Refuses To withdraw From Kashamu’s Suit

Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday refused to disqualify himself from adjudicating in a suit filed by Senator Buruji Kashamu.

Kashamu is praying the court to restrain the Federal Government from seizing his property over drug trafficking allegations.

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

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

But NDLEA in its application asked the judge to hands off the trial.‎

According to NDLEA 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 agency 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 once.

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

But,  refusing the application, Justice Buba said he would not shy away from deciding a case merely because of an unsubstantiated accusation of bias.

Justice Buba said: “This application is part of the game of hide and seek between the parties before me who have been in and out of court. Some of the matters are on appeal.

“The applicant failed woefully to point at any decision this court reached or point of law that it reached and is likely to reach in another one.”

The judge said if any party is dissatisfied with any judgment, the right thing to do was to appeal, and not to accuse a judge of bias.

“The Federal High Court is one. The judges are one. The applicant cannot pick and choose judges for their matters.

“The application has no merit and does not deserve any consideration. Same is hereby dismissed.”

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.