By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
The Federal Government has been called upon to take immediate action to reprimand the Nigerian Correctional Center for allowing the former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Alhaji Abdulrasheed Maina, serving his sentence in Kuje prison, to live like a king with the help of the prison staff.
A non-governmental organization (NGO) called Youth Network Against Corruption made this call, asking the Federal Government to keep a close eye on Maina, who has spent more than two years in Kuje Prison in Abuja.
According to the NGO, Maina is allowed to do whatever he wants in the correctional center.
The General Secretary of the association, Mr Silas Iliya, disclosed this to the press in Abuja.
He alleged thar, because Abdulrasheed Maina gives the prison staff financial inducements, they let him use up to three phones. He makes calls whenever he wants.
Mr Silas said Maina is using his newfound privileged status from prison to continue harming Nigeria by continuing to control illegal money in his possession.
Therefore, the secretary of the group called on the authorities concerned, especially the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and the Nigeria Police Force to pay close attention to the way the Kuje Prison authority gave Maina the opportunity to do whatever he wants while serving his sentence.
Silas said that apart from the large room where Maina is staying, which is luxurious and fitted with the latest air conditioning gadgets, the prison administration has given him the liberty of visitation whenever he wants.
“Our finding has confirmed that even women visit him whenever they want. That is wrong, because he is a criminal and is taken to the detention center as a punishment so as to change his behaviour, not that he should be made a king, and be given preferential treatment over other detainees,” he said.
“Since Maina was taken to prison, he has never known what a cell room is like. He first stayed in the prison hospital. Then later he was moved to a room in the hospital which has modern luxury.
“This man is living like a king in prison. Even though there are important people in the prison like the former member of Parliament Faruk Lawal and Mr Abba Kyari, they are living in a cell, while Maina is treated as a privileged person with absolute rights,” said Silas.
He also called on the prison authority to immediately return Maina to a cell like any prison inmate, and also take over the phones he uses as the correctional service guidelines demand.
Abdulrasheed Maina, who now lives in Kuje correctional center, was convicted after the Federal High Court found him guilty of laundering pension funds.
Justice Okon Abang found Maina guilty on all the 12-count money laundering charges the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), preferred against him and his company, Common Input Property and Investment Limited, and sentenced him to eight-year jail term.