By Yemi Oyeyemi, Abuja
Justice Okon Abang, sitting over the trial of the former chairman of the defunct Police Pension Task Force, Dr Abdulrasheed Maina, has accused journalists covering the trial of not reflecting the kind gestures of the court in their reports.
“Some of them serve their personal interest, rather than national interest,” he said.
He observed that when the court allowed Maina to sit down during trial and the day he was allowed to take his drugs in the open court, the press refused to mention these kind gestures of the court in their report.
- “Lead counsel to Maina Mr 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 the press, he noted, opted to misinform the public that he ordered Maina not to look directly at him in court.
“The press is biased. On account of all these, I come to the conclusion that the press is unfair to the court”, he said.
Meanwhile, Maina will have to stay longer in prison custody as authorities of the Nigerian Correctional Service Thursday asked for a week to come out with a detailed report on his health status.
Maina was wheeled to court for the continuation of his trial by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC on the alleged N2.3bn fraud and money laundering charges.
Following his absence court on Tuesday due to ill-health, the trial judge, Justice Abang had ordered the Deputy Comptroller General of the Nigerian Correctional Service 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 trial, 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 Service, Mr H. B Kori on November 6, 2019.
Abubakar said Kori, in a letter dated November 6 and served on the prosecution Thursday requested for one week to comply with the order of the court. This will enable him 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 trial.
Abubakar 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 the agreement of counsels in the matter, Justice Abang adjourned the matter to November 21 and 22 for continuation of trial.
Earlier, the court told counsel that ruling on Maina’s bail application, which was earlier slated for the day was not ready, because of the workload of the court but that the court will fix a 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 accused was in court in a wheel chair, I didn’t order him to come on a wheel chair. I am deeply touched when I saw him this morning”, he said.
The EFCC is prosecuting Maina alongside a firm, Common Input Property and Investment Ltd, allegedly linked to him, on a 12-count criminal charge, bordering on fraud, abuse of public office and money laundering of about about N2.3billion.