The former chairman of the defunct Police Pension Task Force, Dr Abdulrasheed Maina will have to stay much longer in prison custody as authorities of the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCS) on Thursday asked for a week to carry out a comprehensive health report on the former chairman of the defunct Police Pension Task Force, Dr Abdulrasheed Maina.
The request followed Maina’s appeareance in court on Thursday in a wheel chair.
A ruling was expected in Maina’s bail application yesterday.
Following the absence of Maina in court last Tuesday for his trial on health ground, the trial judge, Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, ordered the Deputy Comptroller General of the Nigerian Correctional Service (Prisons) in charge of welfare and medical to conduct a thorough examination of Maina, to ascertain his health status and report to the court.
At the resumed hearing of the matter yesterday, prosecution counsel, Mohammed Abubakar, informed the court that the enroll order of the court was forwarded to the Deputy Comptroller, Medical and Welfare of the NCS, H. B Kori on November 6, 2019.
Abubakar said Kori, in a letter dated November 6 and served on the prosecution yesterday requested for one week to comply with the order of the court, so as to carry out a comprehensive medical examination on Maina to ascertain his state of health and to know if he (Maina) is medically fit to stand his trial.
This will require Maina to spend one more week in custody of the Correctional Service.
The prosecution counsel then said Kori’s appeal was reasonable and urged the court to grant the request and to adjourn the case to November 21, 2019 for continuation of trial.
With agreement of counsel in the matter, Justice Abang adjourned the matter to November 21 and 22 for continuation of trial.
Meanwhile, Justice Abang accused journalists covering the proceedings of bias in their reportage.
The judge accused journalists of not reflecting the kind gestures of the court in their reports, adding that, “some of them serve their personal interest, rather then national interest.
He said when the court allows defendants to sit down during trial or the day he allowed Maina to take his drugs in the open court, the press refused to mention all these kind gestures of the court in their report.
“Lead counsel to the first defendant, Ahmed Raji (SAN) walked out on the court during the proceedings of October 30, the press did not report that, even when Joe Kyari-Gadzama (SAN)threatened the court, while arguing for adjournment, the press didn’t mention any of these”, he said but misinformed the public that the he ordered Maina not to look directly at him in court.
“The press is bias. On account of all these, I come to the conclusion that the press is unfair to the court”, he said.
Earlier, the court told counsel that ruling on Maina’s bail application, which was earlier slated to be delivered Thursday was not ready, because of the work load of the court but that the court will fix date for the ruling before the close of work.
The former pension boss was brought to court in a wheel chair, a development in his health that gave justice Abang concern.
“I noticed that the first defendant was in court in a wheel chair, I didn’t order him to do so. I am deeply touched when I saw him this morning”, he said.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting Maina, along side a firm, Common Input Property and Investment Ltd, allegedly linked with him on a 12-vount criminal charge, bordering on fraud, abuse of public office and money laundering of about about N2bn.