Court Dismisses Maina’s Suit Against Aregbesola, Nababa
The Federal High Court, Abuja, dismissed a suit filed by Abdulrasheed Maina against the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, and the Controller General Nigeria Correctional Service, Haliru Nababa, over his alleged ill health.
Mr Maina, the former chairperson of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), is serving an eight-year jail term at Kuje Prison in Abuja for pension fraud to the tune of N2 billion.
The convict, who is facing another ongoing trial on pension fraud charges, had filed his suit to obtain the court’s permission to seek medical treatment at “a reputable hospital” outside the prisons.
He claimed that the denial of his request led to a violation of his rights by the Minister of Interior, the Controller General of the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCoS), and the NCoS itself.
He told the court in the suit he filed on 27 September that he was suffering from a life-threatening disease in custody, and was in need of urgent medical attention.
Delivering judgement, on Wednesday, Justice Inyang Ekwo, dismissed the suit holding that Mr Maina could not substantiate his claims.
The judge said the convict’s suit was an attempt to trivialise criminal conviction, citing the convict’s medical records confirming that he was getting adequate medical attention in custody.
“In my opinion, this application is a ruse. It is an attempt to belittle the essence of criminal conviction and to aid the applicant (Maina) live above the law.
“I find that the application lacks merit and I make an order dismissing it,” Mr Ekwo declared.
He said records filed as exhibits showed that Mr Maina had been taken to the Cardiological Department, the Orthopedic Department as well as the ENT Department of the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital about 23 times.
According to him, it is universally accepted that prisoners have a right to receive medical treatment, but not to choose a particular hospital and hold the state to ransom on such demand.
He said the treatments Mr Maina got at the hospital were suitable for his station in life as of the time of filing the application.
“Taking a prisoner to a hospital 23 times demonstrates care and attention on the part of the custodial authorities.
“The allegation of the applicant that the refusal of the respondents to take the applicant to a reputable and recognised hospital for medical attention or treatment, cannot be founded in the circumstance of this case,” the judge said.
Contrary to Mr Maina’s claims, the judge held “categorically” that “a teaching hospital in Nigeria is a reputable and recognised hospital.”
“This application, in my opinion, is clear evidence of the fact that the applicant is yet to undergo any degree of reformation that his conviction and sentence to prison custody is meant to achieve,” the judge said.
He called Mr Maina’s attention to “the limitations of a custodial life.”
“From the evidence before me, it is manifestly clear that the applicant is not just looking for medical treatment but an indulgent lifestyle while in prison.
“He wants to be treated as a privileged person with absolute rights and privileges,” the judge said.