ABDULRASHEED Maina, former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reformed Taskforce Team (PRTT), is the latest addition to the other Nigerian public officials that have created a dramatic scene during court trial or on National television.
Maina on Thursday, collapsed in the dock during the resumed hearing in his N2billion money laundering trial at the Federal High Court, Abuja.
And many Nigerians have branded his action as same old trick used by top government officials in the country.
Maina was recently extradited from the Niger Republic to Nigeria after he jumped bail and escaped from the country.
Before his dramatic collapse in the court, Anayo Adibe, Maina’s counsel was praying the court for an adjournment to enable him get records of court proceedings.
The case has now been adjourned till December 21 and 22.
Maina’s purported ill-health has been a major reason for his prolonged trial. In November 2019, his trial was stalled after a medical expert testified to his inability to appear before the court due to health reasons.
On another occasion, his lawyer claimed that Maina was bleeding during a court sitting.
The ICIR in this report, compiles list of other top Nigerian officials who gave a “Oscar-worthy” performances when charged to court for a case of money laundering, fraud or any other crime.
These top guns often fall ill, get admitted to a hospital, and then show up in court in a wheelchair. There are those who also put appearance of sickness on national television.
Dino Melaye. a Nigerian politician that represented Kogi West Senatorial district in the 8th National Assembly, is one of them.
Melaye is aguably one of the most dramatic politicians in Nigeria, as no Nigerian politician feeds off controversy like him.
In April 2018, Melaye jumped out of a moving police van as he was being transported to face criminal charges in Kogi State.
On January 4, 2019, Melaye surrendered to the police after a seven-day siege was placed on his Abuja Maitama residence. Police officers had invaded his Abuja home on Friday, December 28, 2018 to arrest him for his alleged involvement in the shooting of a police officer, Danjuma Saliu, a Sergeant in July 2018.
Minutes after his surrender, Melaye slumped and was assisted to the police car. On arrival at the police headquarters, he appeared very weak and could not walk by himself and had to be helped into the office where he slumped again as he was breathing heavily. He was said to be asthmatic.
In 2019, Senator Dino Melaye slept outside the DSS hospital after he was moved there by police personnel insisting that he would not enter the DSS medical facility until he was told why he was moved from the Police Hospital in Abuja.
Olisa Metuh is a Nigerian Lawyer, politician and the former National Publicity Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
He was arrested in 2016 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) for the N400 million he and his company Destra Investment Limited allegedly received from the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) in 2014.
His drama started following a confusion caused by his sudden collapse in the court. The development forced the presiding judge, Justice Okon Abang, to stand down the matter for almost half an hour to enable medical officials attend to him.
On February 5, 2018, Metuh appeared in court on a stretcher after Justice Abang ruled that he would have his bail revoked if he didn’t show up for the continuation of his trial. Again on March 14, 2018, Metuh appeared in court on a wheelchair. And on May 21, 2018, he collapsed while making his way to the dock for cross-examination.
After making several court appearances coupled with slumping dramas, Metuh was found guilty of money laundering and sentenced to seven years in prison on February 25, 2020.
Ayodele Fayose, the famous “I am in pains” former governor of Ekiti
Peter Ayodele Fayose is a former governor of Ekiti State.
He is best known for one his famous line “I am in pains”, “I am in severe pains” acting on national television.
Fayose cried while speaking on Channels Television in 2018, saying he was in pains after he was allegedly “shot at” and manhandled by security agents.
He then broke down into tears, lamenting “I cannot take this anymore” before crawling away from the camera.
“How can I be Governor of Ekiti State and be treated like this in my own country? My people, I call on all of you: Stand and remain standing,” he said to the crowd. “I will go back to the hospital for a while to rest… I am having a lot of pains, but I prefer to bear these pains because of you. I prefer to bear these pains because of you…” Fayose said amidst sobs.
Lere Olayinka, spokesman of the former governor, said his principal lost consciousness and was taken to the Government House Clinic after policemen fired teargas canisters into the Government House.
Although, not a politician, Kemebradikumo Daniel Pondei is a Nigerian professor and the current acting managing director of Niger Delta Development Commission.
The acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), fainted as the House of Representatives Committee on NDDC grilled him on Monday July 20, 2020 during an investigation on alleged financial misappropriation at the commission.
Pondei had been grilled for over an hour when he slowly slumped over his desk, appearing to faint.
Several people present at the hearing rushed to his aid, propping him up and attempting to stabilise him, with the proceedings halted.
He then appeared to be in a seizure with a man holding open his mouth as others held him upright.
Pondei, however, replied critics who desribed his action as shameful.
“I had an unexplained, unexpected health challenge. It is ridiculous to think that people believed I was acting.
“I would not pray for anyone to experience what I went through.
“I do not run from issues. I have put all that behind me,” he said in an interview with Vanguard.
Maj. Gen. Hakeem Otiki
The former GOC faces court martial in wheelchair over the alleged diversion of N400m by five runaway soldiers attached to the division in September 2019.
He appeared to be ill and was brought into the court on a wheelchair, having beside him medical officers of the Nigerian Army who monitored him during the trial.
On June 16, 2020 a military court headed by the army’s chief of policy and plans, Lamidi Adeosun, found Mr Otiki guilty of disobedience to service orders, theft of public property, diverting operational money and engaging in private businesses.
The tribunal ordered that he should be demoted from major general to brigadier general and dismissed.
Haliru Bello Mohammed, a former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, appeared before the Federal High Court, Abuja, sitting in a wheelchair.
The EFCC had on December 26, 2015, filed a four-count charge of money laundering against the politician for his alleged role in the diversion of funds meant for the procurement of arms in the office of the National Security Adviser.
Nigerians are tired of same script by government officials
The ICIR monitored reactions by some Nigerians online after news broke out that Maina also slumped during his court trial on Thursday.
A Twitter user identified as Sammie said “This is never a serious country. We have not recovered from Prof. Pondei’s fainting and Maina is slumping. Many pensioners died because of his reckless act, pls can the judge sentence him to death recklessly too, until strict laws are taken corruption will always become a tradition.”
Loho Samuel wrote “Very popular act! When the heat is on, they become like Pete Edochie and Ramsey Noah. I think these guys deserve oscars for their acting proficiency.”
Ogheneochuko said “I think certain English clubs need to start employing the service of Nigeria politicians. They are so skilled with different tactics to manoeuvre their way out of difficult situations.”
Abi Baiyewu tweeted, “The content on Nollywood has improved over time. Public office entertainers in Nigeria are yet to catch on. Same ol’, same ol’. Our dear #Maina followed the traditional courtroom script.”
Ebitu Promise said: “What’s really the mystery behind these politicians slumping when it’s time to question them about their corrupt activities.”
Abeeb Alawiye formerly works with The ICIR as a Reporter/Social Media officer. Now work as a Senior Journalist with BBC News Yoruba. You can shoot him an email via Abeeb.firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @habsonfloww