Embattled Chairman of the dissolved Pension Reform Task Force Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina, has dared the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to arrest him.
Maina said the EFCC cannot arrest him because the composition of the anti-graft body, as presently constituted, is unconstitutional and, therefore, cannot lawfully invoke the provisions of its Establishment Act, 2004.
The former pension said based on this, he has dragged the EFCC before a Federal High Court in Kaduna, through his counsel, Mohammed Sani Katu, with the Attorney General of the Federation, the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives as defendants.
The EFCC declared the former PRTT boss wanted in 2013, for allegedly defrauding pensioners to the tune of N195 billion. His arrest was also ordered by security agencies.
But Maina, in the suit FHC/KAD/CS/112/2017, cited section 4(1) and 4(2) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended and the case of A.G, Ogun State v. A.G, Federation (1982) LPELR-SC/1981 (P.50, paras. A-B) where the apex court held that “the making of law and order and securing of public safety and public order is a very wide field indeed the responsibility for which must be shared between the National Assembly and the State House of Assembly…” averred that by former President Olusegun Obasanjo repealing the EFCC (establishment) Act, 2002, in 2004 and re-enacting another law referred to as EFCC (Establishment etc) Act, 2004, he usurped the powers of the National Assembly to make laws, thereby making the 2002 Act null and void. He prayed the court to declare the present composition of the EFCC as unconstitutional, null and void and another order to declare all its actions, made in reliance with the EFCC (establishment), Act 2004 to date as unconstitutional, null and void.
In the reliefs sought, Maina also asked for a declaration that it is only the National Assembly that is empowered to enact, repeal or re-enact any federal legislation and that the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria can only modify an already existing federal legislation/Act, so as to bring it within the purview of the constitution but not to repeal, amend or re-enact new laws/Act and that the anti-corruption agency cannot lawfully invoke the provisions of the EFCC (Establishment), Act to declare him wanted and direct his arrest by security agencies.
In a written address, in support of his originating summons, Maina raised some posers such as “when was the EFCC Act 2002 enacted? When did it come into effect?
“We have deposed in paragraphs 4 (a) of our affidavit, stating that the EFCC (Establishment) Act of 2002 (Act No. 5) was enacted in 2002, three years into the operation of the 1999 constitution, with the commencement date of December 14, 2002. The EFCC (Establishment etc) Act, 2004 and for matters connected therewith, referred to as Act No. 1 was enacted by the Fifth National Assembly, whose tenure came into being on June 4, 2004, which date is also the commencement date of the said Act.
The earlier Act was repealed through the later Act by former Obasanjo while allegedly exercising his powers under section 315 of the 1999 constitution. It is our submission that, from the above analysis, the repealed EFCC Act, 2002 does not fall under the meaning of existing law capable of being modified, repealed or altered as same was never in existence before the coming into force of the 1999 constitution. On the contrary, it was enacted and came into force in 2002, hence, cannot be arbitrarily repealed, modified, amended or re-enacted by the president. We urge the court to so hold.”
The erstwhile pension boss asked the EFCC to tell Nigerians if the anti-corruption agency was legally registered in accordance with the provisions of the 1999 constitution.
To this end, Maina claimed that the EFCC cannot invoke its provisions of the 2004 Act to declare him wanted and direct his arrest by security agencies in Nigeria. He also argued that the commission has no constitutional basis to exist and urged the court to declare it null and void.
The embattled pension reformer is equally seeking an order from the court to set aside any warrant of arrest initiated by the EFCC, which is the first respondent in the suit, or any government agencies against him.
Maina also sought for, “an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants, either by themselves, their privies, agents, officers or by whatever name called from taking any further steps against the EFCC in relation to his constitutional rights through the instrumentality of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (establishment), Act 2004.”
The case is scheduled for mention on today, at the Federal High Court, Kaduna.