BY LUKMAN OLABIYI
The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos has dashed the hope of a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain, in Ogun State, Prince Buruji Kasamu, over his attempt to overturn the judgment of the court to extradite him to the United States by the Federal Government.
Prince Kasamu had prayed the court to set aside its judgment delivered on July 2 regarding the supposed attempt to extradite him to the United States.
The court in its verdict held that the appeal lacked merit and consequently awarded N50, 000 cost in favour of the Federal Government.
Delivering the lead ruling, Justice Abdu Aboki (presiding) held that there was no complaint relating to the composition of the panel that heard the appeal as to the qualification of its members, except the vague and unfounded insinuation, against the presiding judge of the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, Justice Amina Augie.
“A court is competent when it is properly constituted as regards the number and qualification of members of the Bench. The subject matter is within its jurisdiction, no feature in the case prevents the court from exercising its jurisdiction and the case has been initiated by due process and in fulfillment of conditions precedent.
“Let me state that there is no iota of evidence in this application that as at the time the learned presiding judge of Lagos division assigned the appeal for hearing by a panel, she no longer possessed the lawful authority to do so,’’ the court held
Consequently, the court adopted the argument of counsel to the Federal Government, Chief Emeka Ngige (SAN) that the panel was validly constituted and that the judgement delivered on July 2, 2013 was valid and legitimate.
Justice Aboki further held that since the applicant (Buruji Kashamu) had appealed to the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal lacked jurisdiction to entertain any application seeking reliefs on a suit pending before the apex court.
Two other Justices, Isaiah Olufemi Akeju and Ibrahim Shata Bdliya also aligned with the lead judgement.
Kashamu had in his petition urged the court to constitute an independent panel to hear the case pending the appeals involving him.
He averred in an affidavit in support of the appeal, that: “In spite of the petition alleging likelihood of bias against the Lagos division of this court, and without awaiting the outcome of the said petition written to the president of the Court of Appeal, a hearing notice was sent out fixing hearing for April 18, 2013.”