Wanted pension task force boss, Maina, asks court to halt police arrest

Abdulrasheed Maina... He has been declared wanted by the police for failing to appear before a Senate committee
Abdulrasheed Maina... He has been declared wanted by the police for failing to appear before a Senate committee

The chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, PRTT, Abdulrasheed Maina, has sued the Senate and the Nigeria Police Force, NPF, at a Federal High Court in Abuja, alleging breach of his fundamental rights, the International Centre for Investigative Reporting is reporting this evening.

Mr. Maina is wanted by the police for failing to appear before a Senate committee investigating alleged mismanagement of pension funds.

A counsel to Mr. Maina, Mahmud Magaji, in suit FHC/ ABJ/ CS/ 65/ 20B, is seeking an order to quash the report of a Senate committee indicted him for fraud.

He is also seeking an order declaring the warrant for his arrest by the police as unconstitutional.

The applicant is also asking the court for an injunction restraining the respondents and their agents from arresting or threatening to arrest him for exercising his lawful duties a chairman of the task force team.

Mr. Maina accused the defendants of total denial of fair hearing, injustice and severe persecution and is demanding damages to the tune of N1.5billion.

Defendants in the suit are the Senate, Senate President, Clerk of the Senate and the Senate committee on establishment and public service.

Others are the Senate committee on states and local government administration, the Inspector General of Police, Senator Aloysius Etuk, chairman, committee on establishment and public service, and Senator Kabiru Gaya, deputy chairman of the committee.

The Senate committee that probed pension administration in the country had declared Mr. Maina wanted weeks ago after he failed to appear before it. The committee ordered the Inspector general of police to effect the task force chairman’s arrest.

The IGP Muhammed Abubakar in turn declared Mr. Maina wanted last week, but aides of the pension task team boss claimed he did not receive any invitation from the police before he was declared wanted.

The aides who requested not to be named said that when the Senate committee invited Mr. Maina to appear before it, he had written a letter to the Senate President asking to be protected from what he termed a biased and compromised panel.

In the letter, Mr. Maina complained to the Senate President that members of the committee, particularly Aloysius Etuk, the chairman, had shown bias by going live on television to pass judgment on his task force even while his committee was still sitting.

Mr. Maina also reminded the Senate President of the accusations by some of those being tried for embezzling pension funds that members of the committee demanded and got N3 billion from the loot.

He therefore requested the Senate President to appoint another committee to guarantee fair hearing and a successful probe of the pension sector.

However, Senate President was yet to acknowledged or replied the letter before the police declared him wanted.

The aides said members of Mr. Maina’s task force were suspicious that Senate committee would set up and indicted them by causing indicting and doctored documents to be presented on the floor of the chamber without any opportunity given to them to defend themselves.

In the suit which will commence on February 11, Mr. Maina is seeking 10 orders listed below.

1.     An Order setting aside the warrant of arrest  6th respondent against the applicant on the 2nd of February, 2013 as same constitute a violation of the Applicant Rights as guaranteed under section 35(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

2.     A DECLARATION that the Decision of the Senate through its Joint Committee on Establishment & Public Service; and the Committee on State & Local Govt administration directing the immediate arrest and detention of the applicant by the 5th Respondent without any legal justification is unconstitutional illegal ultra vires null and void and of effect what so ever as same violates section 36(1) and section 6 (6) B of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).

3.     AN ORDER restraining the respondents especially the 3rd , 4th and 5th respondents, their agents, Servants and Privies howsoever called, and either jointly and / or severally from interfering with management and administration of Pension Reform Task Team or initiating the arrest of the applicant as Chairman, Pension Reform Task Team as same is unconstitutional , illegal null and void as same violate the provisions of section 36 (1) and 6 (6) B of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

4.     AN ORDER  restraining the 3rd & 4th Respondents jointly and severally from further issuance of any letter of invitation to the applicant as respondents having completed and submitted their report without giving fair hearing to the applicant is a violation of the applicant’s right as guaranteed under the Constitution. The 3rd & 4th Respondent are hereby are hereby put on notice to produce the said report before this honourable court to ascertain whether the applicant was actually giving fair hearing before the said report was made.

5.     AN ORDER quashing the purported report of the 3rd and 4th Respondents (Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service; and Senate Committee on State and Local Government Administration) as its affect the applicant his court

6.     AN ORDER OF CERTIORARI mandating the respondent either by themselves, their agents, servants, privies however called to before this Court any wrong alleged to have been committed by the applicant in the exercise of his duties as Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team and / or setting aside the resolution of the 1st Respondent mandating the 5th Respondent to arrest the applicant.

7.     A DECLARATION that the threat and intimidation and attempts to arrest the applicant  by the Respondent on the basis of the applicant exercise of his lawful and legitimate duties as Chairman, Pension Reform Task Team is unconstitutional, illegal, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.

8.     AN ORDER of injunction, restraining the Respondents their agents, servants and privies however so called , either jointly and / or severally from arresting or threatening to arrest the applicant who is exercising his lawful duties a Chairman, Pension Reform Task Team.

9.     AN ORDER of this Honourable Court setting   aside or quashing the purported warrant of arrest issued by the Respondents jointly and or severally by themselves or their agents , privies, servants however so called for the arrest of the applicant in the exercise of his duties as Chairman, pension Reform task Team.

10. AN ORDER of perpetual injunction restraining the Respondents jointly and / or severally by themselves and or their agent, privies servant, however so called from further unlawful harassment, intimidation and attempt to arrest the applicant the Chairman Pension Reform Task Team and quashing the resolution of the 1st Respondent mandating the 5th Respondent mandating the Respondent to arrest the Applicant.

11. AN ORDER directing the respondents to pay the Applicant 1,000,000,000:00 (One Billion Naira ) on the footing of the aggravated and exemplary damages for unlawful interference with applicants right to perform his lawful duties and sum of N500,000,000:00 (Five Hundred Million Naira) as general and exemplary damages.