By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
Disturbed by what it described as impossible to fulfil bail conditions, the Northern Youth Coalition for Justice has called on the international community and human rights groups to prevail on Justice Okon Abang to review the stringent bail conditions handed out to ex pensions chief, Abdulrasheed Maina.
The group made the call in a statement signed by its Secretary, Abubakar Usman Yola, made available to newsmen on Tuesday December 10, 2019.
“It is apparently clear that the said presiding judge in the case between the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Justice Okon Abang, has deliberately decided a way of keeping Abdulrashid Maina in continued detention.
“The bail conditions he offered are not just harsh but also mischievous as they are impossible to fulfill,” the group said.
They further explained in the statement titled, “Jail terms given as bail terms to keep Maina in detention” that many lawyers including Senior Advocates of Nigeria, (SANs) had observed that such bail conditions have never been given to anyone before in the history of the judiciary.
“It is calculated and concocted in such a way that it is virtually impossible to fulfill such conditions by the defendant in the case before him.
“The bail was granted based on the following terms:
“The Defendant is admitted to bail in the sum of one billion naira, two sureties like sum.
“The sureties must be Nigerians and two serving Senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that do not have criminal cases pending in any Court.
“The two sureties may be from any of the six geo-political zones.
“The sureties must have properties in Maitama or Asokoro, FCT with Certificate of Occupancy.
“The Chief Registrar of this Court shall in writing ascertain the validity or otherwise of the Certificate of Occupancy issued by the relevant Ministry of the Federal Capital Territory.
“The Defendant shall deposit his US and Nigeria Passports and all other travel documents with the Chief Registrar of this Court.
“The Sureties shall undertake to appear in Court with the 1st Defendant, at all adjourned dates, pending conclusion of trial.
“Where at least one of the Sureties is not in Court with the Defendant, the Court shall be at liberty to revoke the bail of the 1st Defendant unless good and sufficient reasons are given for their absence.
“The Sureties shall each file affidavit of means with two passport photographs attached, stating their capability and capacity of paying the penal sum to the Federal Government or the Court, in the event of being called upon to do so.
“The Prosecution through the Investigating Police Officer, shall in writing ascertain the residence of the Defendant to be in Abuja, FCT,” the statement outlined.
It said, “These monstrous terms are as deceptive as they are vendetta and divisive way of infringing on the fundamental rights to freedom of the defendant.
“Maina is a Nigerian whom the Attorney General and Minister of Justice of Nigeria recently stated under oath at the National Assembly that he (Abdulraaheed Maina) recovered the Sum of N1.3Trillion to the present Administration and he is yet to be paid his 5% (65bn) whistle blowers fees. If one puts this against the paltry allegation of N2.1bn, one would wonder who is honestly owing who?
“The bail conditions are not meant to be fulfilled but to serve as an excuse for his continued detention citing his inability to meet the terms as reason for his detention.This only depicts a deliberate plot of exploiting the court procedure to keep a defendant behind bars.”
They therefore, appealed to the Chief Justice of the Federation and the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, to caution Justice Okon Abang and ensure that he doesn’t continue playing any “Agency’s script” but follows the Constitution to the latter.
“We request that the judge be directed to follow rule of law and accord Maina an urgent review of the bail terms as the offences the defendant is accused of committing are bailable.
“Finally we urge International and Nigerian based Human Rights groups to stand up to this gross violation of the liberty of such a patriotic citizen whose health has been of a great concern to his family and well wishers,” it concluded.