The Chairman of the defunct Presidential Task Team on Pension Reforms, Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina, has filed a suit before the Federal High Court in Abuja challenging his being declared a wanted person for corruption allegations.
He argued in the suit, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1174/2017, that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s publication of his name and picture in a newspaper advertisement on November 7, 2017, declaring him wanted, was borne out of malice and amounted to a violation of his rights to dignity of person.
Maina, who was controversially reinstated into the federal civil service last year, added that the EFCC, the International Police, and other respondents’ acts of alleged intimidation, harassment, threats of arrest and detention flouted his rights to personal liberty and fair hearing.
He asked the court to make an order of mandatory injunction restraining the respondents from further making such publication against him.
The embattled ex-PTTPR chairman also demanded N500m as damages for the respondents’ previous acts which he contended violated his rights.
He sought an order restraining the respondents from further intimidating, harassing, arresting and detaining him.
Maina equally sought an order directing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to apologise to him in three national dailies for its newspaper advertisements declaring him wanted on November 7, 2017.
The respondents to the suit are the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN); the EFCC; the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris; the Commissioner of Police, Interpol and the Nigerian Immigration Service.
Maina had reportedly fled the country, subsequently declared wanted and sacked from the civil service after the EFCC accused him and others of looting about N2.1bn pension funds in 2013.
But he was controversially reinstated in the middle of last year.
Following the development, the EFCC, again declared him wanted in an advertisement which had both his name and picture, published in a newspaper on November 7, 2017.
Maina’s lead counsel, O. J. Onyemah, anchored the suit, filed last December on seven grounds, one of which was that there was no legal justification for declaring his client wanted.
He argued that there was no law empowering any of the respondents to advertise/publish or parade Maina’s name and picture “as a criminal” when the plaintiff had not been tried or convicted by any court.
Onyemah also contended that “the purported warrant of arrest” relied upon by the EFCC “did not direct the publishing or parading of the applicant’s name and picture in any newspaper or media at all.”
He added that the respondents had “whimsically and severally” threatened and violated Maina’s rights even when there was another pending suit filed in 2016 by Maina and marked FHC/ABJ/CS/371/2016 to challenge the respondents’ acts of intimidation.
Maina, through the affidavit deposed to by a lawyer in his legal team, Mr. Mba Ogbudibia, and filed in support of the suit, accused the EFCC of putting him on media trial.
The affidavit read in part, “There is no warrant of arrest properly called in existence authorising the respondents, particularly the 2nd respondent, to carry out newspaper publication as stated above on which the respondents are basing their renewed intimidation, harassment, threats of arrest and detention of the Applicant.
“By the order of the Chief Magistrate Court, Abuja, dated 6/5/2016, the said magistrate decided with finality that it lacks jurisdiction to issue any warrant of arrest against the Applicant.
“The applicant has suffered serious injury and irreparable damage as a result of the reckless indiscretion and act of the Respondent complained herein.”
Part of the prayers Maina sought in his suit were, “An order of injunction restraining the respondents jointly and severally, whether by themselves, their officers, servants, agents or whosoever described, acting on their behalves, from any or further acts of intimidation, harassment, threats, unlawful arrest and detention of applicant or howsoever interfering with the applicant’s personal liberty save in accordance with due process of law.
“An order directing the 2nd respondent (EFCC) to publish and/or make a public apology to the Applicant in three national newspapers including the The Nation Newspaper for the reckless and malicious use of the name and picture of the Applicant as a wanted person for fraud contrary to Applicant’s human dignity and presumption of innocence guaranteed by the CFRN 1999 (as amended).
“N500,000,000.00 general and exemplary damages against the Respondents jointly and severally for the violation of the applicant’s fundamental rights aforestated.”
Olisa Agbakoba Drags AGF To Court Over CJN’s Trial
Constitutional lawyer and former President of Nigerian Bar Association, Chief Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, has dragged the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, to court over moves to arraign the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, over his alleged non-declaration of assets.
In the suit he lodged before the Federal High Court in Abuja, Agbakoba, through his lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, maintained that the six-count charge pending against the CJN at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, in Abuja, is illegal, unlawful, wrongful, unconstitutional, null and void.
He is praying the court to determine, “Whether having regard to the decision of the Court of Appeal in NgajiwaV FRN (2017) LPELR-43391 (CA) , the combined provisions of sections 6, 153,158,287(2), and 292(1) and Paragraph 21(b) of the 3rd Schedule to the 1999 Constitution, as altered and extant provisions of the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers, the present charge in Charge No:CCT/ABJ/01/19 against the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, does not amounr to flagrant and violent disregard of the provisions of the Constitution, due process of law, and, therefore, unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect whatsoever.
“Whether the 1st and 2nd defendants can competently file and maintain charges against Honourable Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, before the 3rd defendant, the Code of Conduct Tribunal, or indeed any court or tribunal without prior recourse to the 4th defendant, the National Judicial Council, in accordance with constitutional provisions.
“Whether the 1st and 2nd defendants can maintain charges against Honourable Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, in Charge No:CCT/ABJ/01/19 before the 3rd Defendant, the Code of Conduct Tribunal, or indeed any Court or Tribunal without affording him adequate time and facilities for preparation of his defence.”
Upon determination of the legal questions, Agbakoba, prayed the court to among other things, declare that “the purported steps taken by the 1st and 2nd Defendants to arraign Honourable Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, before the 3rd Defendant, the Code of Conduct Tribunal, on the basis of Charge No:CCT/ABJ/01/19 filed therein, without prior recourse to the 4th Defendant, the National Judicial Council, is illegal, unlawful, wrongful, unconstitutional, null and void.
“A declaration that the purported or proposed arraignment, of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, the 3rd Defendant, on Monday 14th January, 2019, or on any other date whatsoever, on the basis Charge No:CCT/ABJ/01/19 filed therein, without first having prior recourse to the 4th Defendant, the National Judicial Council, is illegal, unlawful, wrongful, unconstitutional, null and void
“A declaration that the purported or proposed arraignment, of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, the 3rd Defendant, on Monday 14th January, 2019, or on any other date whatsoever, without first being afforded sufficient time and facilities for preparation of his defence, is unconstitutional, null and void, being a gross violation of the provisions of Section 36 (6) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
“A declaration that Charge No:CCT/ABJ/01/19, filed against the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, by the 1stand 2nd Defendants, before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, the 3rd Defendant, without first having prior recourse to the 4th Defendant, the National Judicial Council, is illegal, unlawful, wrongful, unconstitutional, null and void.
“An order of this Honourable Court, quashing and/or setting aside, in their entirety, all the charges preferred by the 1st and 2nd Defendants, against Honourable Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, before the 3rd Defendant, the Code of Conduct Tribunal, in Charge No:CCT/ABJ/01/19 and nullifying all steps taken by the 2nd and 3rd Defendants, leading to the said illegal and unconstitutional arraignment or proposed arraignment of Honourable Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, CJN before the 3rd Defendant.
Likewise, “An order of injunction by this Honourable Court, restraining the 1st and 2nd Defendants, whether by themselves, servants,privies or officers working under them, from maintaining the charges or taking any further steps towards maintenance and prosecution of any charges, against the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, before the 3rd Defendant or any other Court or Tribunal, without first having recourse to the 4th Defendant”.
Aside from the AGF, other defendants in the suit are the Code of Conduct Bureau, the CCT and the National Judicial Council.
MC Oluomo Discharged From Lagos Hospital, Travels Abroad
A chieftain of National Union of Road Transport Workers, Musiliu Akinsanya, a.k.a MC Oluomo, was on Tuesday night discharged from a Lagos hospital, where he was receiving treatment.
MC Oluomo was attacked at an All Progressives Congress rally in Ikeja on January 8, and was immediately taken to Eko Hospital, following injuries he sustained.
A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria, who visited the Eko Hospital in Ikeja on Wednesday, gathered that MC Oluomo left the hospital on Tuesday night after payment of over N2 million medical bill.
A very reliable source, who preferred anonymity, told NAN that the NURTW leader may have left for the United States immediately he was discharged from hospital on Tuesday night.
The source said: “He is very fine and has nothing to worry about his health after his treatment at the hospital. Before he finally left on Tuesday night, he was receiving a lot of well-wishers.
“Sometimes, he moves around and sometimes walks his visitors to the corridor, so he was in a sound health before leaving the hospital.
“Few days before he left the hospital, his associates were making arrangements for his trip.”
NAN also observed that there was no more police presence around the hospital, as the three police vehicles stationed there had been removed.
The Lagos State Police Command had said it arrested some suspects and also declared wanted another NURTW chieftain over the disruption of the APC rally in Lagos.
The Command’s spokesperson, CSP Chike Oti, had said that those arrested in connection with the incident were helping the police in their investigation.
Fake News: EFCC To Detain Odumakin, Fani-Kayode For At Least 14 Days
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has vowed to detain a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, and the spokesman of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, for allegedly spreading fake news on the invasion of the residence of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, by the anti-graft agency.
This was disclosed on Wednesday by the spokesman of the EFCC, Tony Orilade, in Abuja.
Although Fani-Kayode has apologized for the dissemination of the fake news , the agency is expecting him and Odumakin to appear in its office or get arrested.
Orilade said: “They are expected to be in our office this evening to interrogate them on the source of the news and if they fail to talk, the agency will secure an order to detain them for 14 days.”
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