MEDIA, RULE OF LAW, AND MAINA TRIAL (1) — Leadership Newspaper
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MEDIA, RULE OF LAW, AND MAINA TRIAL (1)

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By Safiya Adamu

Today, we have a trending story because the media has chosen to be subjective rather than objective. The ‘Maina thing ‘ did not start this year. It dates back to 2013. AbdulRasheed Maina was a little known civil servant until he was appointed the chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT). The media space is filled to overflow with shouts of impropriety and misdemeanors committed by Maina or on behalf of Maina.

The acting chairman of EFCC is out in the public theatre strewing all manner of insinuations and generally acting like a typical misinformed town crier out for blood. But then he can confidently act this way because the general public and the media have proven to be beyond gullible. Facts and merit do not excite us and since we are fixated on blames and mudsling why bother with facts?

Since the 2nd of November, 2013, when Senator Alloysius Etuk first went on air to accuse Mr. Maina of stealing, embezzling, misappropriating and mismanaging a huge some of one hundred and ninety-five (195) billion Naira out of pension fund, belonging to NEPA, NITEL, Railway, you name anything pension nobody has made any concerted effort to investigate the allegations.

Every sitting president of Maina trial period has been hounded by the press to act contrary to standing laws and rules. First, former President Goodluck Jonathan, now, President Muhammadu Buhari.

The core of the matter is lost in the furor generated by myopic people fed by a degenerate media. President Buhari came to power on the promise to fight corruption and change our ways of doing things. And one of those ways is adherence to rule of law. Perhaps, we fail to fully grasp the comprehensive meaning of the concept of corruption. Failing to adhere to rule of law and flaunting court orders and rulings are huge factors in the nurture of corruption. Surely, we are not too far gone to appreciate this simple fact? Media trial and deliberate manipulation of facts and context simply becloud our sense of judgment and prevent us from demanding the truth.

The attorney general and Minister of Justice is the chief law officer of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Surely, therefore, he is in the position to enforce laws and judgments.

Subsisting court judgments and orders that were not appealed and which right of appeal time period lapsed must be enforced. When one party fails to take up the opportunity to exercise their rights within a given timeframe then they should expect to bear the consequences. The flaw would have been in refusal to entertain the petition of Maina and subsequently subvert the law on the altar of political correctness. The action of the attorney general should be seen as a beacon of hope for all persons concerned with the rule of law and be applauded by all those who wish for this country to make progress.

The attorney general acted within the purview of the law and importantly, we the people, should see this as a strong signal that the rule of law must prevail no matter what circumstance or actors are involved. Mr. Maina obtained four different court orders and judgements that quashed his arrest warrants and dismissal from civil service; Maina sued the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria via case Federal High court suit FHC/ABJ/CS/65/13 and got a court order that voided the warrant of arrest issued against him and his dismissal from the federal civil service; order of High Court as per Adeniyi, J dated 23rd October 2014 vide suit no CV/1776/14 against comptroller general of Immigration Service and IGP that quashed and set aside the ‘No fly list’ as it affects Maina and in which he was awarded N2 million in exemplary damages; chief magistrate court dated 6th May 2016 in suit no M/62/16 between EFCC and IGP inter alia that set aside the warrant of arrest against Maina.

I am of the view that it is time the public begins to ask questions and demand answers because it is their right to know the truth. We cannot continue to sacrifice people unduly while those who we have entrusted with the responsibility for our common good hoodwink us at every turn. The question should be more about procedure, and the rule of law. The attorney general cannot give orders to the head of service because that office reports only to the president. Then may we ask why the head of service supposedly acted on the orders of the attorney general? Me think the onus would be on the head of service to seek a meeting with the attorney general to spell out administrative procedures consequences of certain actions right they may be. Instead we go to the theatre of the absurd.
Adamu, a public affairs analyst, wrote in from Abuja.



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