Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation, has filed a suit before a federal high court in Abuja, seeking to stop the senate from probing the reinstatement of Abdulrasheed Maina into the civil service.
It is understood that the suit has been assigned to Binta Nyako, a judge of the federal high court, Abuja.
Senate’s decision to conduct a forensic investigation instigated Malami’s court action.
Maina, former chairman of the presidential task force on pension reforms, was recalled and deployed to the ministry of interior under controversial circumstances.
Amid the outcry of the news of his reinstatement, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered his sack and asked Winifred Oyo-Ita, head of the civil service of the federation, to probe the embarrassing situation.
Documents surfaced in public domain that showed the involvement and full knowledge of Oyo-Ita, Malami and Abdulrahman Dambazau, minister of interior, in Maina’s reinstatement.
The federal civil service commission dismissed Maina in 2013 for absconding from duty following a recommendation by the office of the head of service.
He was accused of being involved in pension fraud running into over N100 billion. After an investigation by the senate joint committee on public service and establishment and state and local government administration, a warrant of arrest was issued against him.
Subsequently, the police declared him wanted and he went into hiding. He reportedly fled to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It was after his long absence from office that he was dismissed.
On October 24, the senate mandated its committees on public service, internal affairs, anti-corruption, establishment and judiciary to probe the circumstances of Maina’s return to the country and the public service.
But Malami has asked the court to determine if the national assembly has the right to probe issues relating to the “employment, attendance at work, disengagement, reinstatement and or promotion of a civil servant”.
According to court documents, the attorney-general is asking the court to among other things declare that: “the employment, attendance at work, disengagement, reinstatement and or promotion of a civil servant are matters outside the exclusive and concurrent legislative lists contained in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).
“That the national assembly cannot legitimately regulate the employment, attendance at work, disengagement, reinstatement and or promotion of a civil servant, which are matters exclusively within the purview of the Federal Civil Service Commission under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria1999 (as amended).
“The national assembly lacks the legislative competence to investigate the employment, attendance at work, disengagement, reinstatement and or promotion of a civil servant which are matters exclusively within the purview of the Federal Civil Service Commission under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria1999 (as amended).
“The power of investigation vested the national assembly by section 88 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) is limited and such that can only be exercised within the confines of Section 88 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).
“The plaintiff as the chief law officer and minister of justice of the federation is bound to ensure compliance by the Federal Government of Nigeria and or any of its cognate organs/agencies with the express or implied contents of extant Judgements and Orders of competent courts in Nigeria.
“The defendant cannot constitute itself into a quasi-appellate court, tribunal or panel with a view to reviewing any executive action taken in compliance with the adverse judgment in the said Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/65/2013.”
The house of representatives is also probing Maina’s recall.
When he appeared before the panel of the lower legislative chamber in November, Malami denied his involvement in Maina’s recall.
He also accused federal lawmakers of being part of pension fraud.