Just as the Fuji house of commotion is filled with drama, so also in Nigeria. This very episode in the Nigerian House of commotion started way back on October 25th, 2019 when the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC arraigned Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina former chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team PRTT.

Mr. Maina and his firm Common Input Property and Investment Ltd were arraigned before Justice Okon Abang on 12 counts bordering on money laundering to the tune of N2 billion. Typical of every accused, Maina pleaded “not guilty” to the charges level against him.  

The episode got more interesting when Maina jumped bail the gracious court granted him and fled to the neighboring Niger Republic. While Maina was jumping his bail, his surety Ali Ndume, senator representing Borno South was remanded for failing to provide the defendant. Ndume was granted bail from the Kuje Correctional Center five days later. 

Interestingly, Maina was appointed the chairman of PRTT to ‘cleanup a pension mess’ in the office of the Head of Service of the Federation in 2010. Apparently, Maina is a mess himself and needed a task force to carry a reform on him.

When the word ‘pension’ is mentioned what immediately comes to mind are pictures of old civil servants that worked diligently for 35 years and are deserving of good welfare after retirement. Unfortunately, those are the set of people Maina decided to rob instead of doing the job he was appointed to do.

Several pensioners have had to go through horrible experiences because of lack of payment of what is due to them. And someone had a filled time toying with the resources others have labored for over the years. It’s unfortunate that the likes of Maina are spread everywhere in government. 

However, with the aid of the warrant of arrest issued by the presiding judge, Maina was apprehended by security agencies in Niger and brought back to Nigeria in December last year. And yes, the commotion continued. Barely three weeks after his capture, Maina filed for a fresh bail (you’d wonder where they get their guts from) on grounds of his deteriorating health. 

It is worthy of note that Maina Jumped bail and fled to Niger without a passport as both his American and Nigerian passports were seized by the court as part of the bail conditions granted him earlier. How convenient it was for him to carry the corruption everywhere. Maina was in jail till the end of his trial on November 8. 

The judgment delivered by Justice Okon Abang found Maina guilty on all the 12 count charges the EFCC leveled against him and his company Common Input Property and Investment Ltd. According to the News Agency of Nigeria NAN, the judge sentenced Maina to various jail terms ranging from three to eight years which are running concurrently. 

Maina was jailed three years for count-1, five years for count-2, eight years for count-3, eight years for count-4, two years for count-5, five years for count-6, and eight years for count-7. He also was sentenced to three years for count-8, five years for count-9, and eight years for count 10, three years for count 11 and three years for 12. 

Justice Okon said Maina’s imprisonment shall run concurrently beginning from October 25th, 2019 the date he was arraigned. Maina will now spend the longest sentence of eight years in jail.

At last, karma has caught up with the klepto-Maina and the pensioners have gotten justice and some sort of closure knowing that the person responsible for some of their predicaments is thrown in jail. 

But the episode did not just end there, usually, when convicts are served their sentence, fear, regret and remorse are written all over their faces. They hide their face in shame because of the disgrace they have brought upon themselves and of course family and friends. 

Instead, Maina was seen laughing and waving to ‘admirers’ like a champion that won a trophy from a tournament after so much hard work. Maina was cheerfully walking to the prison van waiting outside the courtroom; one will wonder, is there something we are not aware of? Or was Maina’s reaction a sheer mockery to the corrupt judicial system? 

Sadly, the very organ responsible for enforcing lawfulness is also corrupt. According to a report by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission ICPC, indicated that the judiciary is on top of the Nigerian corruption index between 2018 and 2020. A year later, has the judiciary been reformed, or was Maina smiling at a system just as corrupt as he is?

Regardless of what this may seem, Maina the kleptoMaina has gotten a fraction of what he deserves and we just hope that he serves the sentence and doesn’t jump anything because it seems his hobbies include jumping and taking things that belong to others.    

Author: Kangmwa Gofwen

Lagos Bureau Chief, Nigeria