From Femi Oyelola Kaduna
The former Chairman of the Presidential Taskforce on Pension Reform, Abdulrasheed Maina, has sued the Chairman of the Economic and. Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Mustafa Magu and the EFCC over allegation of defamation of character.
In the suit dated 15th January, 2018, and filed on his behalf by his counsel, Mr. James Onyilo, before a High Court of Justice, Lafia, accused Ibrahim Magu of granting press interviews which are slanderous, untrue and malicious.
In the writ of summons, Maina’s counsel asked the court for a declaration that the press interviews granted Magu on November 30th and December 14th, 2017 are defamatory to with slanderous, untrue, injurious and intended to lower the reputation and integrity of the plaintiff in the estimation of right thinking members of the society and brought him to public ridicule, odium, contempt and derision.
He also asked the court to order the defendants to retract and publish an unreserved apology to the plaintiff in at least three daily newspapers within seven days from the day of the judgement.
He asked the court to restrain the EFCC boss from making comments considered defamatory of the plaintiff.
He asked for an order directing the defendants to pay jointly and severally, the sum of N10billion as damages for the publications.
In the statement of claim, Onyilo said, “the 1st defendant. (Magu) who has a personal score and vendetta to settle with the plaintiff using the instrumentality of the 2nd defendant (EFCC), maliciously embarked on a campaign of calumny against the plaintiff.
“The plaintiff averted that on the 30th of November 2017, the 1st defendant in the cause of a press interview aired different news report as well as on Internet medium of the various news media agencies made. The following statement, “it is terrible, as a result of Maina’s action, so many people, so many of our fathers and mothers who render service to this country had premature death, so many people had died…..he has been a civil servant, an assistant director. You people should stop celebrating criminals…”
“In another related development, on the 14th of December, 2017, the 1st defendant was captured on air during another press interview at the International Airport, Abuja, where he further made the following statement, “we are working very hard to get the criminal who stole pension money and decided to go into hiding because you people are the ones covering him, we will surely get the criminal and bring him to justice”.
Meanwhile, the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has granted an interim forfeiture of a property thought to belong to Abdulrasheed Maina but upon investigation, the real owners of the property Common Input Property and Investment Ltd has sort a leave to be joined in the esparte motion filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC seeking forfeiture of the said property which belongs to the Company. Upon further investigation, it was realized that in fact, the said owners of the Company are known personalities in the Nigerian oil and property business.
In his ruling, Justice Gabriel Kolawale, ordered that Common Input Property and Investment Ltd be given a date for application for joinder (2) that an interim forfeiture be made(3) that if after 3 months there is no evidence by the EFCC that Maina is the actual owner and if Maina is not arraigned for any prosecution then the interim order lapses automatically and the property reverts back to the actual owners (4) that on the company being joined it can continue (the company) to lay claim to the property.