Maina’s suit: Court extends time for Senate, others to file counter affidavits

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Former head of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina.

Mr. Maina is accused of stealing money belonging to Nigerian pensioners.

The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday granted the Senate an extension of time to file a counter affidavit on a motion challenging the warrant the lawmakers issued on Abdulrasheed Maina.

Mr. Maina, Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Force Team, had dragged the Senate and seven other defendants to court in respect of the warrant for his arrest.

The other defendants include the Senate President; Clerk of the Senate; Senate Committees on Establishment & Public Service State & Local Government Administration; the Inspector General of Police; Aloysius Etuk, Chairman, Senate Committee on Establishment & Public Service; as well as Kabiru Gaya, Chairman, Senate Committee on State & Local Government Administration.

At the resumed sitting on Monday, Justice Adamu Bello held that “since the respondents had yet to file their counter affidavits, arguments on the application cannot go on today”.

“In the circumstance, the respondents are given three days within which to file their counter affidavits and the applicant has three days to reply,” he said.

In a related development, Magaji Mahmud, counsel to Mr. Maina filed an oral application praying for an order for the maintenance of “statuesque” by all the parties.

He submitted that such an order is necessary to stop the threat coming on his client from the respondents.

The application was, however, opposed by the counsel to the Senate, Ken Ikonne, as according to him, similar relief was dismissed by the court on February 15.

“The court should not allow its proceedings to be abused by the applicant (Maina). It is in the records of the court that this similar relief was thrown out on Friday last week.

“We, therefore, urge the court to refuse the prayer,” he said.

Counsel to the I-G, Ngosoo Uchegbu, aligned herself to Mr. Ikonne’s submissions, adding that “the applicant cannot by law appeal on the decision of the court here.

The judge held that “Having listened to the submissions from all the parties on a call for definite order for the maintenance of `statuesque’ pending the determination of the suit on Fundamental Rights Enforcement,

“I am of the view that the applicant should approach the appellate court.

“The court on February 15 had truly ruled against the relief and therefore cannot sit on appeal of a similar relief it has dismissed. The best place to test this decision is before my superiors at the appellate court.

“Nevertheless, when parties have submitted themselves to the court jurisdiction, it becomes illegal to take any obnoxious steps,” he said.

After listening to the arguments, Justice Bello adjourned to February 26 for the hearing of Mr. Maina’s motion on notice.

The applicant, among other things, is seeking an order to set aside the warrant of arrest placed on him by the Senate on February 2.

He contended that the resolution constituted a violation of his fundamental human rights as guaranteed by Section 35 (1) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.

(NAN)


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