The man who inspired ‘Orange is the New Black’ passed away from from COVID-19

Senator Buruji Kashamu, the businessman and immediate past Senator representing Ogun East constituency passed away on Friday, 8th August, following complications from Covid-19 at First Cardiology Hospital, Lagos was laid to rest at his hometown, Ijebu-Igbo on Saturday morning.

Who was Senator Kashamu?

Within the country, Kashamu was well known for both his business and political exploits. He was a chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and in 2019 its candidate in the Ogun State gubernatorial election. He also founded of Western Lotto Limited.

Kashamu was also known as a kingpin drug dealer following his indictment by a Chicago grand jury in 1998. He ran a trafficking ring transporting drugs through O’Hare International Airport and inspired Piper Kerman’s prison memoir, Orange Is the New Black, as the ‘Alaji’ she never met but went to whenever they (the drug clan) ran out of funds. He was arrested by British authorities in 1998 and was extradited in that period.

Upon arriving in Nigeria, he rebranded himself as a “Prince” and joined the People’s Democratic Party. Despite, being an International criminal he was elected into office on March 28. This act was considered an embarrassment to Nigeria putting prejudice before fairness. After winning the election, he was placed under a house arrest by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

Why does this matter?

Kashamu’s death is a subtle reminder of the existence of Covid-19 and the need to be more vigilant as well as observe safety protocols. The virus has claimed members of the political class like Abba Kyari, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, Senator Bayo Osinowo, Suleiman Achimugu, Wahab Adegbenro while a few have recovered from the virus.

His death also raises questions about the efficacy of Nigeria’s Judicial system owing to its failure to successfully prosecute him and its limitations in the fight against Anti-corruption.

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