Meet the Nigerian indicted in US for drug deal who’s now elected Senator in Nigeria
This is an exclusive report by Associated Press and
it’s about PDP Chieftain, Buruji Kashamu. Read the
A man indicted in America for allegedly
smuggling heroin, in a court case that
was the basis for the TV hit “Orange Is
The New Black,” has been elected a
senator in Nigeria.
Buruji Kashamu was little known before
he returned home in 2003 from Britain
despite a U.S. extradition order to
become a major financier of President
Election results posted late Wednesday
identify Kashamu as a senator-elect in
southwest Ogun state. Opponents are
challenging his victory in court, saying
ballots were rigged.
Kashamu, 56, hung up the phone twice when the AP
called for comment about the drug case on Thursday.
Kashamu has said 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. He has said Chicago prosecutors
really want the dead brother he closely resembles.
A British court refused a U.S. extradition request in
2003 over uncertainty about Kashamu’s identity.
Chicago Judge Richard Posner thought otherwise
when he refused a motion to dismiss Kashamu’s case
A dozen people were long ago tried and jailed in the
case, including American Piper Kerman, whose
memoir about her jail time became the Netflix hit
“Orange Is The New Black.” Kerman’s book never
identified Kashamu by name, but there is a West
African drug kingpin whom she calls “Alhaji,” meaning
one who has completed the haj or pilgrimage to
A 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
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
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autobiography but a judge this week rescinded it,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