By AHMED Saleh Ahmad
What Nigerians haven’t been told!!!
It becomes a farcical spectacle, this display of an utter lack of integrity by the various economic and media ‘authorities’ who have bartered their sincerity for the sake of concealing their indiscretions. The current trial and prosecution of Abdulrasheed Maina by the EFCC and co. has taken up an ignorable amount of media space, and it only seems fair that the opposing side of the story be relayed. Nigerians deserve to know the truth about this unfortunate saga. Maina deserves to have his maliciously tainted name vindicated and washed.
The background to this story, although familiar to members of the public by now, is well worth reiterating, if only to clarify certain factual errors surrounding this case. In June, 2010, under the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, Maina, a civilian, was appointed head of a joint task force comprising of agents from various bodies, including the EFCC. The aim of this force was to carry out restructuring and investigations into the stories surrounding pension scams. In fact, Maina distinguished himself in this post through his dedication and aptitude. By July 2011, his investigations had shaken up the pension sector. Several accounts, which had been used to siphon money from the pension fund, were uncovered. His task team assisted the government in recovering over 1.6 trillion naira worth of assets and cash on one hand and another N282 billion cash which the former Minister of Finance, Okonjo Iweala lodged at the CBN. When the Buhari administration came on board, Maina single handedly gave out intelligence that led to the recovery of another 1.3trillion while still in exile(bear in mind that he is entitled to 5% of the amount based on the whistle blower policy which is yet to be paid).
As one can imagine, this impressive feat once again rattled the culprits who apparently remained in their vested interests. They are hell bent on getting Maina nailed at all cost.
Maina consequently began to face a well coordinated backlash and witch hunting by powerful pension cartel and their influential collaborators in Government. With pressure coming from his enemies and misinformed media, he was unjustly and prematurely removed from office, and was forced into exile where he remained until his eventful return to Nigeria. He was thereafter reinstated by the present administration in an apparent vindication, and compensation for his hitherto unlawful disengagement. Sadly, his enemies and their lackeys brewed up another media storm with false allegations against him. He was then forced into hiding to protect his life and that of his family as the Federal Govt succumbed once again to media pressure by verbally ordering the disengagement of Maina from the Federal Civil Service.
Maina was eventually arrested along side his 20year old son and kept in various horrible detention facilities of the DSS, EFCC, and the Prison Service where they are both held without bail since the 30th of September 2019.
Available for scrutiny are a set of questions and court judgements which not only serve as Maina’s innocence, but also put an end to any further slander and media trial against his name as his trial and incarceration unjustly perpetuates. Indeed Maina remains innocent until otherwise proven.
SUIT NO: FHC/ABJ/CS/65/13 BETWEEN ABDULRASHEED MAINA VS. THE SENATE OF THE FEDERAL REPUBBLIC OF NIGERIA & 8 ORS
In the suit FHC/ABJ/CS/65/13 between Abdulrasheed Maina Vs. The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria & 8 ors, the applicant sought among others the following reliefs-:
• An order setting aside the warrant of arrest issued by the 6th respondent against the applicant on the 2nd of February 2013
• Upon a careful perusal, the court relying on the provisions of sections 40(1) and (2) and order 2 rule 1 of the FREPR 2009 held that every citizens has unfettered right to approach the courts for the enforcement of his fundamental rights whenever he feels these are being violated, or threatened.
• The applicant’s main grouse in the suit was the numerous invitations sent by the senate committees on the applicant as the chairman Pension Reform Task Team, resulting in the issuance of an arrest warrant against the applicant.
• The court came to the conclusion that the condition precedent for the issuance of an arrest warrant to compel attendance of a person or corporation before the National Assembly are the resolution of the house or senate and the publication of such resolution of such resolution in the journal or official gazette the Government of the federation and proceeded to hold further that failure of the respondents to exhibit evidence showing these documents meant that the condition precedent was lacking and as such the issuance of the arrest warrant is unlawful.
The court consequently issued an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Senate from arresting the applicant on account of the warrant of arrest being invalid and set aside. It can validly be concluded therefore that Maina has no arrest warrant from the senate against him.
SUIT NO: CV/1776/14 BETWEEN ABDULRASHEED MAINA VS. COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF NIGERIA IMMIGRATION SERVICE AND ANO
• In another Suit No: CV/1776/14 between Abdulrasheed Maina vs. Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service and Ano; the applicant commenced an action for the enforcement of his fundamental human rights against his interception and prevention from overseas travels by the men of the Nigeria Immigration Service on the basis of his being placed on the “No Fly List”
• The high court of the federal capital territory as per hon justice Adeniyi held -:
• The 1st respondent is hereby further restrained whether by himself, his officers, agents, privies or howsoever called or described from further acting on the said illegal no fly list as it concerns the applicant; and from further restricting or impeding the enjoyment of his fundamental rights to freedom of movement without legal justification. By this judgment, whatever impediments against the Applicant from proceeding on oversea travels is removed and quashed.
SUIT NO M/62/16 ABDULRASHEED MAINA V. EFCC AND ANO
• In suit no M/62/16 between Abdulrasheed Maina V. Efcc and Ano; before the Chief magistrate court of the Federal Capital Territory, the applicant approached the Court seeking for an Order setting aside the arrest warrant earlier issued against him, pursuant to an application by the EFCC.
• The court upon a careful consideration, on the 6th of May 2016 granted the application brought on behalf of the Applicant and ordered the setting aside the warrant of arrest issued against the applicant, same having been issued without jurisdiction.
Suit no: FHC/ABJ/CS/957/2918 in the suit filed by Maina on 5th of September, 2018 praying the court for the determination whether EFCC can lawfully exercise powers of declaring him as “wanted” on its official website or any other media platform, or by harassing him.
In addition, the former pension boss sought an order of perpetual injunction to restrain EFCC from further harassing him or declaring him wanted in relation to the particulars and subject matter of this suit.
He further requested and the court ordered EFCC , both jointly or severally, its staff, agents, privies, representatives and any other person or related affiliates under whatever name or guise, to forthwith stay clear and remove his picture, name, references, addresses, details and other particulars from the wanted list published on the EFCC official website or any other related platform where ever it may be.
Hence, Hon Justice Ogunbanjo handed down the judgement in favour of Abdulrasheed A. Maina, by giving an order of perpetual Injunction restraining EFCC and its affiliates or related bodies from further declaring him ‘wanted” in relation to subject matter of this suit.
The court further ruled that the action of placing Maina as “wanted” is unlawful as it is an infringement on his fundamental human rights and it was done without an order of a court of competent jurisdiction, as stipulated by section 41 and 42 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.
This order like the previous ones listed above has not been challenged on appeal and still subsists.
Below are some of the questions Nigerians should ask before casting aspersions on Maina;
1. When Maina was assigned this assignment, was he or his team allocated operational funds?
2. Is there any appropriation for the Task Team under Maina?
3. Can they prove through the appropriation Acts of 2010, 2011, 2012 where team’s name appeared?
4. Where did Maina stole all the funds from? Which government account? Or was it given to him in cash or through bank accounts?
5. Who gave him the billions or millions that he allegedly stole? In which government accounts was the money released? Or was it hand delivered in cash? Or an account was credited? Who delivered the funds?
6. Is Maina the custodian of recovered funds & assets? or is it EFCC? The EFCC is are by law the custodians of all recovered assets.
7. Since Maina is not the custodian of recovered assets, how then could it have been possible for Maina stealing pension fund?
9. Why is Maina accused of stealing duty tour allowances paid into various individual accounts for the biometric exercise? Why didn’t the EFCC go after the beneficiaries some of whom are still in the civil service? Why is the EFCC not concerned about the entire task team who worked with Maina?
10. Who brought the intelligence to EFCC of misappropriation by Dr Shuaibu Teidi Sani, Mrs Chidi Ukamaka, Elias Dangabar, John Yusuf etc? Is it not Maina? or where did EFCC got it?
12. It is on record that Maina worked with EFCC, ICPC, DSS, NIA, Police etc, where is their share of this alleged loot? Why are their names not mentioned?
13. Why is it that all the officials seconded to the team are still working in the civil service, and promoted to various grades while only Maina was singled out for humiliation and forced to vacate office?
THE COMMENCEMENT OF TRIAL
As the trial continues, the utterances of the presiding judge on the first day of sitting that Maina was staring at him to in the open court is suspicious, and compounds the feeling of his family, friends and well wishers that he and his son may not not get a fair trial with Justice Abang presiding. We therefore join the aggrieved individuals for the transfer of their case to another competent judge for fair trial and proper adjudication. Where a judge openly displays acts that appear prejudicial, justice would seem to have been denied right from the onset.
The perversion of Maina’s rights, and the unfair media trial, and all the lies created by mischief makers and their lackeys, to a person who has devoted himself to the noble cause of recovering funds and blocking leakages for his country is a painful tragedy that must not be permitted to persist any further.
Ahmed Saleh Ahmad
Writes in from Gwamna road