"The moment we [Africans] lost our languages was also the moment we lost our bodies, our gold, diamonds, copper, coffee, tea." - Ngugi wa Thiong'o

Buruji Kashamu: Cheapening the Nigerian Citizenship

Kashamu
John F. Kennedy once said, “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Before Kennedy made that statement, America has been looking after its people.

For instance, it is common for America to do everything within its powers to save any of its citizens that is in danger anywhere in the World. Even to the extent of paying ransom or starting a war as the case may be.

And so, the statement by Kennedy was merely asking his fellow Americans to look after America as America has done for them. Hence, the patriotism of Americans is never in doubt as anyone of them can die for the American cause.

Why wouldn’t they die for America since they have been made to believe that they are better and superior than any other person in this World? And most especially, America does not extradite its citizens to anywhere in the world, not even to Europe.

But America will always bully other countries to extradite their own citizens to America. They use threats of economic sanctions, and possibly military invasion to achieve their aims. The kidnapping of President Noriega of Panama by US agents was a good example.

However, I know a country that has once called the bluff of America. That country is Portugal. On that occasion, Portugal simply told the Americans that Portugal does not extradite its citizens to anywhere in the world.

Unfortunately, Nigeria is not Portugal and cannot call the bluff of the Americans, who have come to take one of its citizens called Buruji Kashamu.

Kashamu’s ordeal started in 1998 when he was arrested in London on the provisional arrest warrant issued against him by the US. He had a pending charge of Second Superseding Indictment with conspiracy to import heroin into the United States. Now, America wants him extradited to the US.

During the extradition proceedings, the Americans failed to disclose to the British court that the alleged Kashamu’s drug couriers couldn’t identify him from the photo-spread.

For that reason, the High Court of Justice ruled that the “committal order must, in the circumstances, be quashed by reason of the unfairness of the proceedings resulting from the non-disclosure of crucial evidence…” 

Furthermore, the Court stated that; “if they (US) seek to proceed [with the extradition]; the Government needs to seek a fresh warrant.” They did that and it resulted into the second extradition proceeding, which denied Kashamu of his temporary reprieve.

During the second extradition proceedings, Kashamu presented evidence to prove that it was his deceased brother, Adewale Kashamu that was the co-conspirator.

Kashamu presented documents, which showed that he had reported his bother to, and collaborated with the Drug Law Enforcement Officers from Nigeria, Benin and Togo before his brother was killed by the Nigerian customs.

In his ruling, Magistrate Workman concluded that it was obvious that Kashamu and his brother resembled each other. In addition, Workman stated that the he was convinced that Buruji Kashamu’s brother was the co-conspirator.

In concluding, the Magistrate stated that he was “satisfied that the identification evidence, already tenuous, has now been so undermined as to make it incredible and valueless. In those circumstances there is then no prima facie case against the defendant and I propose to discharge him.”

And thus, in January 2003, having been discharged and released from custody, Kashamu returned to Nigeria and has been living in the country till date.

Nevertheless, it is important to note that America didn’t file an appeal against the decision of Magistrate Workman and didn’t attempt to prevent Kashamu from leaving the United Kingdom.

It is also pertinent to note that between 2003 and 2007 Obasanjo was the President of Nigeria. Doesn’t it appear surprising that America didn’t file any extradition request against Kashamu considering Obasanjo’s anti-graft posture at the time?

Astonishingly, America has suddenly filed an extradition request against Kashamu in 2015; 12 years after he was discharged by a UK court in 2003. What have they been doing since then?

Well, at about the time of the 2011 Nigerian general election, Obasanjo drafted Kashamu into politics to fight Gbenga Daniel, the then Governor of Ogun State.

During that period, Kashamu became Obasanjo’s godson and Obasanjo, his godfather. According to Kashamu, that enabled him to have access even inside Obasanjo’s bedroom.

Surprisingly, Obasanjo didn’t realise that he was dealing with a drug baron even though he was the president of Nigeria between 1999 and 2003 when Kashamu’s court ordeal started and ended.

All the same, Obasanjo realised shortly before the build-up to the 2015 Nigerian presidential election that Kashamu is now a drug baron that is wanted by America. The reason is because Kashamu refused work against the political interest of Pres. Jonathan, as demanded by Obasanjo.

And hence, the consequences of disobeying his godfather is that Kashamu must be taken to America by all means to face drug charges. As such, few days ago, over 50 security agents invaded Kashamu’s residence to unlawfully arrest him. Perhaps, kidnap him.

Ironically, Nigerian government is ready to send Kashamu to the US to face drug charges, the same country that a Court in the UK rejected their extradition request, implying that if extradited, Kashamu will not receive a fair trial.

If the United Kingdom, a very reliable ally of the United States, should reject their extradition request because of non-disclosure of crucial evidence amongst others, why should Nigeria grant the US request?

It is only because the Nigerian government has no regards for its citizens. They will never protect a Nigerian citizen and will be willing to pass judgement on him/her before a competent court does. It is Kashamu today; tomorrow it will be another Nigerian citizen.

The Americans are patriotic because of how their country treats them. But a Nigerian citizen has nothing to be patriotic about; he provides all things for himself where they are available.

The citizen buys a generating plant for his/her house because the government cannot provide electricity. The same goes with water and security; the list is inexhaustible and includes everything that makes a man feel like human.

In Nigeria morale is low and so is patriotism; it is so because Nigerian citizenship is cheap.

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