Reports say that elected Nigerian senator, Buruji Kashamu is the man indicted in America for allegedly smuggling heroin, in a court case that was the basis for the TV hit series “Orange Is The New Black,” has been elected a senator in Nigeria.
Not much was known of the background of Buruji Kashamu before he returned home in 2003 from Britain despite a U.S. extradition order to become a major financier of President Goodluck Jonathan’s party.
Election results came out Wednesday identifying Kashamu as a senator-elect in southwest Ogun state. Opponents are challenging his win in court, alleging rigging and election fraud..
Meanwhile, Kashamu, insists he is “a clean businessman” and that the 1998 indictment by a grand jury in the Northern District of Illinois for conspiracy to import and distribute heroin in the United States is a case of mistaken identity. According to him, Chicago prosecutors are taking him for his deceased sibling whom he looks very much like.
A British court rejected grant of the U.S. extradition request in 2003 over the doubts on whether Kashamu is who he claims to be. However, Chicago Judge presiding over the case refused a plea to have the case dismissed.
America’s Piper Kerman, was among the people who got jail time from the case, and her memoir about it is now the popular series on Netflix “Orange Is The New Black.” Known as Piper Chapman in the Prison tale, Kerman mentioned in her book, a West African drug kingpin referred to as “Alhaji,” who has now been pinned as the Senator elect albeit his name was not outrightly mentioned..
As penned by Sahara Reporters, Nigerian federal court last year ordered Kashamu’s extradition, an order upheld by an appeals court. But Nigeria’s government has not extradited him.
That failure caused Olusegun Obasanjo, a former president, to warn that “drug barons … will buy candidates, parties and eventually buy power or be in power themselves.”
Jonathan’s perceived protection of Kashamu was a factor that led Obasanjo to defect from the ruling party before recent elections to the opposition that won most votes in Ogun, the home state of Kashamu and Obasanjo.
Kashamu is suing Obasanjo for libel for stating that Kashamu is a fugitive from U.S. justice. He had won a court order halting publication of Obasanjo’s autobiography but a judge this week rescinded it, saying Kashamu had misled the court. Obasanjo’s lawyer argued that the truth cannot be libel.
President-elect Muhammadu Buhari, a former military dictator who had people jailed for littering in the 1980s, has promised to fight corruption. That has many politicians fearful in a country where corruption is endemic.
In other news, the Senator-elect, Prince Buruji Kashamu has deunked the Associated Press report on his alleged drug indictment in the US published today titled – Man indicted in US for drug deal elected Senator in Nigeria. The politician and businessman insists he was not the man indicted. In his response he added: “None of these confessed criminals mentioned my name (Prince Buruji Kashamu) and repeatedly indicated to their jailers that they did not know their West African accomplice by any other name than “ALAJI . Apparently the US Embassy in Benin, which was facilitating the enquiry by the US Authorities as to who the “ALAJI” could be, somehow received information from some mischief-makers that it was me. That was how my name was introduced into the indictment in 1998 by the US authorities. “
This controversy on whether or not a Nigerian senator elect may or may not be a financier of the narcotics cartel which inspired the hit American series further boggles the mind and makes one anticipate on the intrigues that will manifest from this story alone once unfolded in the coming season of the drama.