Nigerian senator-elect to fight US extradition, drug charges

2015-05-25 12:18

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Lagos - A wanted man newly elected to Nigeria's Senate will appear in court on Monday to fight his extradition to the US on 20-year-old charges related to the TV hit "Orange is the New Black".

Senator-elect Buruji Kashamu, aged 56, has declared his innocence. Chicago prosecutors charge he was the kingpin of a heroin trafficking ring there in the 1990s. Kashamu has said the prosecutors really want the dead brother whom he closely resembles.

Kashamu's spokesperson said he will appear on Monday at the Federal High Court.

After years of inaction, the United States has requested his extradition, according to Nigeria's drug agency. The US Embassy did not immediately respond to requests for confirmation.

Senators like Kashamu are to be sworn into the new legislature on Friday.

Drug agents surrounded Kashamu's home before dawn on Saturday. The drug agency says he is under house arrest. Kashamu's spokesperson says it's an illegal siege and that they have no arrest warrant.

Major financier and powerful politician

"About six fully armed, hooded and menacing-looking operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency are right inside his bedroom with his wife, children and other members of his immediate family!" Kashamu's spokesperson, Austin Oniyokor, told the AP in an email on Sunday night.

Kashamu is the victim of a political conspiracy, he said.

The moves follow the downfall of President Goodluck Jonathan's party, in which Kashamu was a major financier and powerful politician. Jonathan lost March elections but Kashamu was elected in balloting opponents said was rigged.

A Chicago grand jury in 1998 indicted Kashamu for conspiracy to import and distribute heroin in the US

A previous request to extradite him from Britain failed in 2003. Kashamu spent five years in a British jail before he was freed over uncertainty about his identity. He was carrying $230 000 when he was arrested there.

A dozen people long ago pleaded guilty in the case, including American Piper Kerman, whose memoir was adapted for the Netflix hit "Orange is the New Black." Kerman's book never identified Kashamu by name, only citing a West African drug kingpin.

Read more on:    goodluck jonathan  |  nigeria  |  west africa  |  narcotics

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.