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Court dismisses suit by pension thief, Maina, against Aregbesola, NCoS boss, Nababa

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A Federal High Court in Abuja, on Wednesday, has dismissed a lawsuit Abdulrasheed Maina brought against Interior Minister Rauf Aregbesola and Controller General (C-G) of the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCoS) Haliru Nababa over his alleged ill health.

In a ruling, Justice Inyang Ekwo determined that Maina had not offered any strong evidence to demonstrate that the minister and the C-G had violated any of his fundamental legal rights while he was in their possession.

“In my opinion, this application is a ruse. It is an attempt to belittle the essence of criminal conviction and to aid the applicant (Maina) to live above the law.

“I find that the application lacks merit and I make an order dismissing it,” Justice Ekwo declared.

Former Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT) Chairman Maina had filed an ex-parte motion on October 17 with the reference number FHC/ABJ/CS/1729/2022.

In a motion dated and submitted on September 27, Maina (the applicant) identified the minister and the C-G of NCoS as the 1st and 2nd respondents, respectively.

Maina, who is presently serving an eight-year prison sentence at Kuje Prison for pension fraud of N2 billion, had previously testified to the court that he is battling a life-threatening illness within the prison and needs immediate medical care.

In order to treat his life-threatening ailments while his originating action was being heard and decided, the ex-pension boss pleaded with the court for an interim injunction requiring the minister and the C-G to transport him to a respectable and recognized hospital right away.

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Maina cited ten reasons why the motion should be granted, including the fact that his illnesses and ailments went untreated, which resulted in his incapacity and health deterioration.

He further asserted that there is already a chance that the applicant’s rights to life, human dignity, and freedom from harsh, inhuman, or degrading treatment would be violated or infringed.

But in their joint counter affidavit in opposition to Maina’s originating motion, the minister and the C-G said “it has become glare from intelligence report at their disposal that the applicant (Maina) only feigns the ailments for him to be taken out of the custodial facility to aid his escape from lawful custody.”

Read also:‘Maina feigning sickness to escape from custody,’ Aregbesola tells court

In their application marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1719/22, dated and filed Oct. 31, the duo said contrary to Maina’s claim, he was never refused access to medical services, but that Maina would not be allowed to hide under medical services to escape from lawful custody.

They described the medical reports he produced as “self-induced.”

They claimed that Maina had access to medical care at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, where he had previously received treatment, and that the exhibits included in the case sufficiently supported these claims.

They claimed it became clear that Maina’s hospital referral was really a ruse to get him out of legal care.

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It was further alleged that NCoS agents learned via a top-secret, confidential intelligence dossier that Maina was preparing to flee with “armed gunmen” thought to be loyal to him during the act.

They said that Maina, who was arraigned on Oct. 25, 2019, on a 12-count charge though pleaded not guilty, he, however, jumped bail after being granted the bail on health grounds.

Furthermore, the duo said that Sen. Ali Ndume, who stood as Maina’s surety, was remanded in Kuje prison until Maina was rearrested.

The minister and the C-G, who told the court that Maina was only raising false health alarms, urged the court to dismiss the suit.

In rendering his decision, Justice Ekwo stated that the fact that Maina had been taken to the cardiology, orthopedic, and ENT departments of the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada for a total of about 23 times, as stated in the provided exhibits, demonstrated that he had received medical care and treatment appropriate for his station in life as of the time the application was made.

“Taking a prisoner to a hospital for twenty-three (23) times demonstrates care and attention on the part of the custodial authorities.

“The allegation of the applicant that the refusal of the respondents to take the applicant to a reputable and recognised hospital for medical attention or treatment, cannot be founded in the circumstance of this case,” he said

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“This application, in my opinion, is dear evidence of the fact that the applicant is yet to undergo any degree of reformation that his conviction and sentence to prison custody is meant to achieve.

“From the evidence before me, it is manifestly dear that the applicant is not just looking for medical treatment but an indulgent ifestyle white in prison.

“He wants to be treated as a privileged person with absolute rights and privileges.

“It is either the applicant does not understand the limitations of a custodial life or is pretending not to do so.

“The court will not interfere with the actions and decisions of the custodial authorities once it is demonstrated that they acted within the confines of the statute regulating the performance of their functions,” Justice Ekwo ruled.

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