A Non-governmental Organisation, Legislative Watch, has called for an end to what it termed as persecution of former Chairman of the Pension Reformed Task Force Team (PRTT), Mr Abdulrasheed Maina, in the court of law.
The group which was led by its executive secretary, Hon.Elder Ngozika Ihuema, insisted that there must be an end to judicial harassment, rascality and any forms of injustices in the country.
With various inscriptions like: ‘Abang stop teleguiding EFCC’, Pay Maina his 5% whistle blower fee of N120 bn and ‘End judicial rascality, judges bias’ the group also advocated for an urgent need to push for meaningful judicial reforms that would put an end to Judicial bias.
To this end, the group at a press conference on Monday requested Justice Okon Abang of the federal high court to recuse himself from further handling of Maina’s case in the interest of justice and fairness.
Maina it would be recalled is being tried over alleged money laundering charges leveled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
According to the group, the unequivocal position was taken because the said judge has allegedly deliberately exhibited unhidden hatred and bias in his treatment of Maina’s suit before him.
They alleged Justice Abang of tutoring the prosecution team on how to conduct their cases in the open court to the disadvantage of the defence party, alleging that it has been the norm since the case started.
The group said: “As you know we had on the 3rd of October, 2020 requested Justice Okon Abang of the federal high court to recuse himself from Maina’s case but to our surprise, nothing remarkable has happened.
“Another harrowing experience was when the judge on the 29th and 30th of September, 2020 respectively frowned at the absence of Maina from court in spite of the fact that a medical report from Maitama district hospital was tendered through his lawyer that he was truly sick and receiving medical attention.
“For us a careful observation of the recorded proceedings so far clearly revealed that the judge has descended into the arena of personal conflict knowing full well that it is only a healthy person that can face trial.”
While eulogising the embattled pension boss for his expertise deployed in recovering N1.63 trillion and N1.3 trillion totaling N2.93 trillion for to the government coffer under former president Goodluck Jonathan and President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, they described his trial as scandalous.
“In the true sense of it, the former pension boss is being tried on a N750 million money laundering charge when in actual fact the federal government is still owing him N65 billion in line with the whistleblower policy,” the group added.