I Fled To Niger Republic To Avoid Amputation, Maina Tells Court

Embattled former Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, on Friday, told the Federal High Court in Abuja that his leg would have been amputated if he had not fled to Niger Republic for medical attention.

According to him, a surgical operation was performed on his knee to save his leg.

 

Maina, in his affidavit to support the bail application, asked the court to grant his prayer for bail so that he could attend to his current deteriorating health challenge.

 

He had, on January 20, approached Justice Okon Abang for another bail after his arrest for jumping the first bail.

 

The ex-PRTT boss, in a motion on notice dated and filed on December 24, 2020, brought by one of his lawyers, Anayo Adibe, said the application became necessary over his worsening health condition.

 

He told the court that he had reasonable and responsible sureties who were willing to act as sureties if granted bail.

 

During the resumed hearing, Maina’s lawyer, Sani Katu (SAN), said he had three applications filed before the court.

 

Katu said, besides a bail application, he had filed an application praying the court for the recall of the prosecution witnesses in the trial.

 

He said, due to Maina’s failing health, a letter was written to the Kuje Correctional Centre on the need for proper medical attention for him.

 

Katu averred that the correctional centre where he was kept did not have a facility to attend to his state of health, adding that his client was recently taken to the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada.

 

He pointed out that the medical report was exhibited in the bail application.

 

The lawyer urged the court to grant Maina bail with assurance that he would not abuse the privilege, having sworn an undertaking to that effect.

 

He said the treatment his client received outside the country saved his limbs from amputation.

 

But the lawyer to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mohammed Abubakar, told the court to reject the bail plea.

 

Abubakar argued that in Maina’s affidavit in support of his bail request, he did not show remorse for his action in jumping the first bail graciously granted him by the court.

 

“The 1st defendant applicant (Maina), without any remorse, stated at paragraph 9 of his affidavit that, as a result of the order of his arrest, he decided to seek a better medical facility for the treatment of his knee and was eventually referred to a military hospital in Chad Republic and Niger Republic, where the knee surgery was successfully carried out.

 

“What he is saying is that his jumping bail was a premeditated decision. It was a decision he took by himself in disobedience to the gracious order of this honourable court in releasing him on bail,” he said.

 

Abubakar argued further that, by that remark, it showed that Maina also fled to the Republic of Chad.

 

The EFCC’s lawyer said, “It is also clear by this paragraph that while we thought that the 1st defendant applicant fled to Niger Republic, he is now informing the court that he also went to Chad Republic, while his American and Nigerian passports are in the custody of the court.

 

“It is our humble submission that this is not a person that deserves a second chance of taking a risk by the court in releasing him on another bail.”

 

He said the medical report brought by Maina from the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital on his current state of health was silent on the knee surgery he claimed he had outside the country.

 

“It is also important to highlight that while the 1st defendant applicant talked about a purported surgery conducted on his knee and the purported pain he is presently suffering in that knee, which he claimed may result in the amputation of his leg if not granted bail, the medical report brought by him is silent about any issue about his knee; whether he is feeling pain or surgery ever performed in the knee before,” he said.

 

Citing a previous Court of Appeal decision, Abubakar said, “While a defendant has a right to legal practitioner of his own choice, he does not have a right to a medical practitioner or facility of his own choice, and that even where there is a medical report attached to a bail, the court will still not grant bail unless the medical report or deposition of a medical practitioner on oath proves that the applicant cannot get the required medical attention while in custody.”

 

The lawyer, who said Maina had failed to meet these requirements, urged the court to refuse the application.

 

Responding, Katu, who said granting bail was at the court’s discretion, argued that this was in accordance with sections 158, 162 and 165 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.

 

The lawyer, who hinted that Maina once had a mild stroke, said all he prayed for was a bail so that his client could have proper medical attention outside the correctional centre as exhibited in their application.

 

On the decision by the Court of Appeal, he argued that the nature of the case was different from the one at hand.

 

“While in the Adamu vs. FRN case, the report said an applicant had no entitlement to a medical doctor of his choice, we are not asking for a particular doctor of our choice. Rather, we are asking for a general practitioner,” he said.

 

Katu urged the judge to discountenance all the arguments by Abubakar that had to do with facts which were not contained in the affidavit, while praying the court to exercise its discretionary power in favour of Maina.

 

Justice Abang adjourned the ruling until February 25.

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