SENATOR Buruji Kashamu, representing Ogun East Senatorial District in the Senate, on Thursday lost his bid to stop the police from making him appear before a panel set up by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to probe him in an alleged plan to kill a member of the House of Representatives, Oladipupo Adebutu as the Federal High Court, Abuja ordered him to appear before the panel for interrogation.
The trial Judge, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, in a judgment he delivered on Thursday held that the Police, under the 1999 Constitution and Police Act have statutory powers to invite any Nigerian for interrogation on any criminal allegation.
According to Justice Dimgba, “The first respondent (IGP) has the duty to investigate a crime and if need be arrest. I don’t believe the first respondent (IGP) has erred because it has power to investigate. The applicant is to submit himself to the first respondent for investigation”, the court held.
Dimgba held that though the applicant fears were genuine based on happenings in the past, he said there was no basis to prevent the Police from carrying out their statutory responsibility.
The Judge held that Kashamu did not place sufficient materials before the court upon which an order of perpetual injunction can be issued against the Police on his invitation.
Justice Dimgba said that the fear expressed by the Senator that the Police want to use the petition as a ploy to extradite him to the United States of America to face drug related charges was unfounded and has no foundation.
He said Kashamu’s fears of arrest, detention and possible extradition to the US were speculative, therefore cannot hold especially as the respondents have said it was far from the facts on ground.
While dismissing four of the reliefs sought by Kashamu for lack of merit, Justice Dimgba restrained the Police or the SSS from arresting, detaining or extraditing him to the US when he appears before the panel in course of investigating the petition.
Kashamu had approached the court on August last year, to restrain the IGP, Police and SSS from making him appear before the panel.
In the application, Kashamu had argued that the invitation by the IGP and the Director General of the SSS to make him appear before an investigation panel was a ploy to arrest and extradite him to the United States of America (USA) to face trial on alleged drug related offences.
The Senator claimed that the invitation extended to him in respect of a petition on an assassination attempt on the life of a House of Representatives member was a ploy to get at him and transport him to America at the instance of the American government to face charges on alleged hard drug offence.
Kashamu. in an originating summon argued by his counsel, Prince Raphael Oluyede, urged Justice Dimgba to protect him from being forcefully ferried abroad by stopping the IGP, DG of SSS and their agents from inviting or arresting him.
He said his fundamental rights to liberty or freedom would be breached if the Police and SSS are not refrained from curtailing his movement.
The Senator further contended that the petition upon which police is seeking to invite him has been investigated and found baseless and unfounded, hence there is no need for the police and SSS to seek his arrest.
Kashamu said he rushed to the court to seek an order against his arrest because the Police and the SSS are bent on arresting him.
However, in opposing the claims of Senator Buruji, the IGP said the applicant was being invited to make statement before a special investigation panel set up to look into the allegation of assassination attempt against Senator Kashamu and was not any a ploy to arrest him.
The IGP, through his counsel, David Igbodo, said the issue of extradition raised by the Senator was his imagination and not that of the police.
The counsel submitted that the Senator rushed to court to prevent the police from performing its statutory function and urged the court not to grant the application.
“There are two petitions addressed to the IGP on allegation of assassination attempt in Port Harcourt, Rivers State the first one was written by House of Representatives member, Honorable Oladipupo Keshinton upon which the Senator was invited.
“Rather than honouring police invitation, the Senator chooses to write a counter petition on the same issue. At the moment, the IGP has two petitions and had set up a Special Investigation Panel to look into them to ascertain the genuineness of the allegation,” he said.
The House of Representatives member who is also a respondent in the case accused the Senator of embarking on forum shopping to avoid appearing before a police panel to answer allegations on attempted assassination on his life.
The lawmaker through his counsel Ehi Uwaifo urged the court to dismiss the application of the Senator and to order him to appear before the panel to enable them perform its statutory function.