International Centre for Investigative Reporting

Chairman of the defunct Presidential Task Team on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina, has filed a suit before the Federal High Court in Abuja against the Buhari government.

He is challenging his being declared a wanted person for corruption allegations.

In the suit, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1174/2017, Maina said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, publication of his name and picture in a newspaper advertisement on November 7, 2017, declaring him wanted, was a violation of his rights to dignity of person.

Maina, added that the anti-graft agency, the International Police, INTERPOL, 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; award N500m as damages against the respondents’ previous acts and an order restraining the respondents from further intimidating, harassing, arresting and detaining him.

Maina equally sought an order directing the EFCC to apologise to him in three national dailies for its newspaper advertisements declaring him wanted.

The respondents to the suit are the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN); the EFCC; the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris; the Commissioner of Police, Interpol and the Nigerian Immigration Service.

Maina’s lead counsel, O. J. Onyemah, in the the suit, 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.”

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