The court decision appears embarrassing to the senate.
The Nigerian Senate has declined immediate response to a federal court ruling quashing its order to arrest the former chairman of the Pension Reform Task team, Abdurasheed Maina, accused of plundering N195 billion of pension savings.
The judge, Adamu Bello, in a ruling early Wednesday, said the Senate’s arrest warrant did not comply with constitutional stipulations, as the senate failed to make available the National Assembly journal or the official government gazette containing the process leading to the issuance of the arrest warrant.
Mr. Bello issued a surprising restriction against Mr. Maina’s arrest, either by the police, or the senate, which for months sought the former pension boss’ arrest for failing to appear before a senate committee investigating the huge fraud.
Senate spoksesperson, Enyinaya Abaribe, declined to comment on the court ruling on Wednesday. “No comment on that. I’m just hearing it now,” Mr. Abaribe told reporters. He did not indicate whether the senate will take a position when it resumes from the Easter holidays it commenced after Wednesday’s sitting.
Other senators contacted also declined comments.
The court decision would seem an embarrassing twist for a senate that for months confronted one of the most defiant subjects of its investigations.
Through its stretched probe lasting about a year, Mr. Maina snubbed the lawmakers and repeatedly absented from public hearings. He accused the committee of bias, and of soliciting bribes from him.
A senate resolution in February, eventually led to the federal government replacing the former powerful pension chief.
Mr. Maina has remained in hiding for months avoiding police arrest while pressing the court to vacate the arrest warrant and restrain authorities from further harassing him.