‘It’s a ruse’ – court rejects Maina’s request for medical treatment

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A federal high court in Abuja has dismissed a complaint filed by Abdulrasheed Maina, former chairman of the Pension Reform Task Force (PRTT), for his alleged poor health.

November 8, 2021Maina was sentenced to eight years in prison after being found guilty of money laundering.

In a petition marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1729/2022, dated and filed September 27, the convict asked the court for an interim order ordering Rauf Aregbesola, Minister of Home Affairs, and Haliru Nababa, Comptroller General of the Nigerian Corrections Service . (NCoS), to take him immediately to a reputable hospital for treatment.

But Aregbesola and Baba accused Maina of pretending to be sick to help her escape from prison.

In a decision issued on Wednesday, Inyang Ekwo, the presiding judge, said Maina’s request was a “ruse” to help him escape from prison.

“In my view, this request is a ruse,” the judge said.

“This is an attempt to downplay the essence of the criminal conviction and help the plaintiff (Maina) live above the law.

“I find that the claim is unfounded and I issue an order dismissing.”

The judge further found that the defendants presented the court with sufficient evidence to show that the claimant (Maina) had received proper medical care.

Ekwo said exhibits presented showed that Maina had been taken to the Cardiology, Orthopedics and Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) ward at Abuja University Hospital in Gwagwalada 23 times.

“Bringing a prisoner to hospital 23 times demonstrates the care and attention on the part of prison authorities,” he said.

“The claimant’s allegation that the defendants’ refusal to take him to a reputable and recognized hospital for medical care or treatment cannot be substantiated in the circumstances of this case.”

The judge said the plaintiff must have “lost his mind” alleging that the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital was not a “reputable and recognized hospital”.

“I hereby categorically declare that a teaching hospital in Nigeria is a reputable and recognized hospital,” Ekwo said.

The judge also said that although the prisoners have the right to receive medical care, they do not have the right to demand a ransom from the state on such a request.

“This request, in my opinion, is clear evidence that the petitioner has not yet undergone the degree of reformation that his conviction and prison sentence are intended to achieve,” the judge added.

“From the evidence before me, it is overwhelmingly clear that the petitioner is not just seeking medical treatment, but a lenient lifestyle while incarcerated.

“He wants to be treated as a privileged person with absolute rights and privileges.

“Either the applicant does not understand the limits of a prison life, or he pretends not to.

“The court will not interfere with the actions and decisions of the guardianship authorities once it has been shown that they acted within the limits of the law governing the exercise of their functions.”

The development comes months after Maina skipped bail and went into hiding in September 2020.

He was however extradited to Nigeria in December 2020 after his arrest in the Republic of Niger.

This story is published in partnership with Report for the World, a global service program that supports local public interest journalism.

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