The Kinsmen of former Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, have asked Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja to recuse himself from his case in the interest of justice and fairness. They are therefore asking the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Mohammad, as a matter of urgency to wade into the matter.
Maina’s kinsmen through their spokesman, Aliyu Maina at a forum in Abuja, accused Justice Okon Abang of being biased in his treatment of their son in the suit filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). They also alleged that the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho, had failed to take off the case from Justice Abang, who according to them, had exhibited bias. They said Justice Abang on 29th and 30th of September, 2020, respectively frowned at the absence of the former Pension boss from court even when he tendered a medical report from Maitama General Hospital through his lawyer, showing that he is critically ill.
While stating that it is only a healthy person that can face trial alive, they said a careful observation of the proceedings so far clearly revealed that the trial judge had descended into the arena of conflict, noting that on several occasions, Justice Abang allegedly teleguided the prosecution team on how to conduct their case in the open court to the detriment of the defence party. Apart from the allegation of tailoring the trial to the huge advantage of the EFCC, they accused the judge of making several prejudicial statements in the open court against the ex-pension boss in a manner that suggests a preconceived judgment.
According to them, such remarks were unfair especially in view of the fact that the former pension boss is a senior citizen who has used his expertise to recover several looted funds for Nigeria. They further stated that they are of the view that the judge would not approach the continued trial with an open mind as his mind is allegedly made up on the case, adding that they have not forgotten in a haste how the judge handed herculean bail conditions on Maina, thereby prolonging his incarceration at the Kuje correctional centre.
They said it is disheartening that in the face of glaring bias, Justice Abang declined to recuse himself from the case even after concerted requests by their son’s lawyers. They said they would hold the judge responsible if their son dies before the conclusion of the case, adding that he is one of the best brains in Nigeria.