We are all, definitely, in pain – borrow your voice from Ayo Fayose.
As the popular saying goes; “crime does not pay,” and law-abiding citizens of the world have held on to this notion, reassuring themselves that as long as they stay on the good side of the law, they are sure to be safe from the troubles that come along with perpetuating a crime.
However, things are a little bit different in Nigeria. The saying crime does not pay doesn’t seem to apply to Nigeria as much, as some Nigerians have been known to publicly escape the long arm of justice, even after being caught red-handed in a criminal act.
The Governor who was caught with bundles of kickback cash in dollars on video back in 2018 is a typical example. The men who illegally took ₦81 billion under the guise of Niger Delta Development commission NDDC is another – all of which the law has looked away from.
In Nigeria, escaping justice is commonplace. A little money can keep a lawbreaker from serving the time they ought to, and a lot of money damn near grants you immortality in Nigeria. But for Abdulrasheed Maina, former Pension Reform Task Team Chairman, escaping the law, even though he is wealthy, has not been easy.
He was first tagged in a ₦2 Billion pension fraud scandal back in 2013, after which he fled the country. After an investigation, a warrant for his arrest was issued by the senate permitting the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to arrest him on sight.
With this, you would think that the man would stay gone. Yet ironically, he would later return to the country and was not immediately arrested but rather rewarded a seat in politics as acting director in the Ministry of Interior. The scandal surrounding his name led President Muhammadu Buhari to fire him and encourage the law to continue to pursue him.
As recently as last month, he got extradited from Niger Republic, after he jumped bail over the same case. The former pension boss decided it was a good idea to flee the country, but it failed to work this time. Following his extradition, the court ordered that he be remanded at the Kuje Correctional Centre from where he would be attending his trail hence forth.
Prior to this recent arrest, Maina’s trial had been holding in absentia after he jumped bail and ran off to the Niger Republic.
Preceding this bold move, back in 2019, Maina had arrived at one of his hearings in a wheelchair, and his lawyer argued that his ill health would hinder him from continually appearing in court, for which the case was postponed. However, as you already know this did not stop but rather delayed a little, his inevitable confrontation with the law.
So, it would seem that fleeing has failed, ignoring the problem till it goes away has failed, and claiming to be ill also failed. So when in doubt and can’t seem to escape the reach of the Nigerian justice system, only one valid option for escape remains, and that is: just faint in court.
Maina today, seemed to opt for this option, as he was reported to have slummed today during the resumed hearing in his ₦2 billion money laundering trial at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
This strategy as ridiculous as it sounds is the reason why Pondei Kemebradikumo, the acting managing director of the NDDC has so far being absolved of the ₦80 billion fraud he was accused of back in July 2020.
It goes without saying that the attention of the good people of Nigeria has been drawn to this ‘unfortunate incident, and they are of course conversing on the matter. So far, here are some of the reactions of Nigerians on Twitter to Maina’s ordeal;
If that is a strategy thieving politicians and Nigerians want to start adopting, then we need to rethink how the courts should run.
For Chinedu Okafor, its all about making an impact with words, creating a profound impression on the audience with the intended narrative.