Senate President Bukola Saraki, represented by Ajibola Oluyede, who secured relief from extradition for suspected drug kingpin Buruji Kashamu, has re-filed a case that was thrown out earlier today by Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court in Lagos.
Justice Buba, who has a reputation for granting spurious injunctions to politically prominent persons, had struck out Mr. Saraki’s earlier case, ruling that the senator’s lawyers had not been able to prove that his rights would be violated in the jurisdiction of Lagos considering that Mr. Saraki neither lives nor works in Lagos.
Mr. Saraki’s attorneys had filed the fundamental rights enforcement lawsuit, claiming that his trial before the Code of Conduct Tribunal was a violation of his rights. The lawsuit named the Code of Conduct Tribunal, the Inspector General of Police, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, and the Attorney General of the Federation as defendants, adding that the senator was being persecuted by highly connected persons.
Shortly after Justice Buba dismissed the case today, Mr. Saraki re-filed the same case at the Federal High Court in Abuja. Representing him is Mr. Oluyede, a lawyer described by judicial sources as extremely close to the Chief Judge of the Federation, Ibrahim Auta, and Justice Ibrahim Buba, whom he recently praised glowingly as a “fearless judge” who is not afraid to give controversial orders.
As the lawyer for Buruji Kashamu, sought in the US to face a drug-smuggling charge, Ajibola Oluyede got his client off the hook when the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) sought to arrest and extradite him to the US last June. Mr. Oluyede first persuaded Justice Buba in Lagos to restrain the NDLEA from arresting Mr. Kashamu and then got another judge, Okon Abang, to nullify the extradition process.
Mr. Kashamu, whose election as a senator in Ogun State was last month overturned by an election tribunal, remains free.
One judicial source in Abuja told SaharaReporters that Saraki’s chief lawyer, Mr. Oluyede, “is the kind of lawyer who will shop in Abuja for a judge to do Senator Saraki’s bidding.”
The source added that Mr. Oluyede could have procured an order from Justice Buba prohibiting the Code of Conduct Tribunal from continuing its trial of Senator Saraki if SaharaReporters had not exposed that the deal was afoot.