• Reveals how FG recalled ex-pension reforms panel chair from exile, seconded him to DSS before reinstating him
From Noah Ebije and Sola Ojo, Kaduna
Family members of former chairman of Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina, have threatened to expose the cabal in Aso Rock behind his travails.
They also threatened to sue the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), just as they insisted that their son is not a fraudster but a messiah who brought reforms into the pension scheme.
At a news conference in Kaduna, yesterday, spokesman of the family, Aliyu Maina, accused a “cabal” of being behind ex-PENCOM boss’ travails.
Aliyu, who wondered why government officials were denying his brother, claimed it was the Department of State Services (DSS) that gave him protection.
“It is on record that Abdulrasheed Maina’s reform put to a stop the fraudulent withdrawal of huge sums from both the Nigerian Pension Board, the Nigerian Police Pension Board, etc. Perhaps, it is his noble efforts that made him enviable to the present administration when they came into power to convince him to come back and assist in its “Change’ agenda.
“Abdulrasheed was, in fact, invited by this administration and he was promised security to come and clean up the mess and generate more revenue to government by blocking leakages.
“He succumbed to the present administration and came back to Nigeria. He has been working with the DSS for quite some time and was given necessary security.
“There is a letter from the Attorney General of the Federation where he gave his own legal opinion regarding the court verdict, which was submitted to the Civil Service Commission and the head of service respectively. So, one wonders why all the agencies and various individuals responsible for his return are now denying,” he stated.
Asked to comment on Maina’s whereabouts, Aliyu said: “As you know, Abdulrasheed Maina had been a target of attack in the past; so experience is the best teacher. But, when his security is guaranteed, he will surface from wherever he is and tell Nigerians the truth.”
Aliyu, who said the family had sought the intervention of its lawyers, added that Maina would soon make some damning revelations. “We have contacted our solicitors, Messrs Mamman Nasir & Co and instructed them to act appropriately. We equally know that Abdulrasheed Maina is in possession of so many facts that are against the cabal and interesting to the Nigerian populace, which he will disclose soonest. One must ask whether it is an offence for somebody to serve his fatherland,” he said
The family said Maina inherited the houses, which the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) recently seized in Kaduna. He said the anti-graft agency had ordered the family members to vacate their residential house in Kaduna.
But the DSS declined comment on the claim by Maina’s family that it provided him protection. When Daily Sun contacted, the spokesperson of the service, Mr. Nnana Nnochiri, said: “Please, I am in a meeting but if it is Maina’s issue you want me to react to, I want to tell you that I don’t have any comment on the matter.” And he ended the call.
But the second republic lawmaker, Alhaji Junaid and chairman of the Kaduna branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Festus Okoye, said President Buhari and the Federal Government must come clean on the matter.
Maina, monster created by PDP –Presidency
From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
In its reaction, Presidency described Maina as one of the monsters created by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
In a statement, the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity Garba Shehu, said the PDP had no moral right to level any accusations against the Buhari’s administration.
“Over and over again, the President Buhari government has pointed out that the administration’s greatest problem is the mess left behind by the previous government. Maina is just one more example,” he said.
Referring to document and records from the investigations that led to the disgrace of the former pension boss and his being declared wanted by the EFCC, Shehu noted that Maina was not only a top member of the former government involved in the multibillion naira pensions scandal, but a man warmly ensconced in the bosom of power.
“Top officials in the PDP government from sectoral heads to those charged with responsibility for law and order received some of these billions of naira from Maina. We have all the transaction records and these are matters that the EFCC has been pursuing to ensure that they all have their day in court.”
Despite records linking the AGF to the memo that facilitated Maina’s reinstatement and posting to the Ministry of Interior, Shehu claimed some influential officials loyal to the previous government may have been the invisible hand in the deal that saw the return of Maina, despite being on the EFCC’s wanted list.
Allegation baseless –Jonathan
But in a swift reaction, former president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan laughed off Presidency claim that his men were behind the reinstatement of Maina into civil service.
Media adviser to Jonathan, Ikechukwu Eze told Daily Sun that the government’s claim is shocking, especially as the family of Maina has told Nigerians how he found his way back to Nigeria and the civil service.
He challenged the presidency to tell Nigerians how the former PENCOM reform boss moved from an assistant director position he held before he left the country to a director upon his reinstatement by the incumbent administration.
“The presidency is ridiculing itself by trying to shift the blame to Jonathan. It should tell Nigerians how a man who ran away from the country to escape justice was brought back and elevated from assistant director to a director,” Eze said.
Maina’s reinstatement: PDP, Ezekwesili, Sani, ASCSN, HURIWA demand justice
By Bimbola Oyesola, Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja and Noah Ebije, Kaduna
More outrage and condemnation has trailed the recall and reinstatement of former pensions boss, Abdulrasheed Maina saga.
The Peoples Democratic Party has reiterated its claim that “President Muhammadu Buhari is hypocritical in the prosecution of the war against corruption.”
National Publicity secretary of the party, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, noted that if it turned out to be true that Maina actually worked for the Department of State Servcies (DSS), “then, heads must roll.”
Former Education minister, Oby Ezekwesili, described Maina’s recall as the most lethal blow to the president Buhari-led administration’s fight against corruption.
In a series of tweets, yesterday, Ezekwesili said: “There is no redeeming prospect in the colossal mess made by the officials of the Federal Government in the Mainagate. But, at least start with a full disclosure. Mainagate is the most lethal blow yet to a struggling anti-corruption agenda that had the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission increasingly isolated by the Attorney General of the Federation. Something is fundamentally broken in governance and Mainagate is a mere symptom. President Buhari’s usual aloofness on such matters won’t work.
“Mainagate is one scandal too many for president Buhari’s administration. The time has come for the president to own these scandals and act. If president Buhari took public confidence-building measures on Mainagate, SGFgate, NIAgate, he may yet revive faith in his agenda.”
To the Senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani, the saga has exposed the disjointed nature of the current administration.
Speaking on a Lagos television programme, on Tuesday, Sani said the incident raises questions about the Federal Government’s claim of fighting corruption.
“What is clear in the whole of these (Maina’s case) is the very fact that things have not actually changed very much in the very sense that if a man who has an issue to settle with morality, with sanity, could, at these very times be re-invited or recalled, then moral issues certainly were raised,” he said.
“It is also revelation of the discord and the disjointed state of government as it is now. It also shows the very fact that some persons are behind the scene wielding very strong powers to which their wielding of power is directly in contradiction with what the president stands for, believes in, and advertises as the moral principles of his government.”
In response to a question on why Senate is investigating Maina’s reinstatement, after Buhari ordered a probe, Sani said it is good for Nigerians to have “a buffet” of Maina’s report.
Beyond a probe, the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) has urged Buhari to reshuffle his kitchen cabinet. The association said the consistent and persistent acts of impunity by some powerful individuals in the cabinet had continued to embarrass the government.
In a statement issued by its Secretary-General, Alade Bashir Lawal, ASCSN expressed sadness that Maina, sacked in 2013 for sharp practices, was smuggled back into the federal civil service by key government officials close to Mr President.
“If the president does not act to replace some of his personal aides that are smearing the image of his government, the impression will continue to be created that he may be privy to their ignoble acts. Besides, apart from dismissing Maina from service, relevant government agencies should take necessary steps to bring him to justice,’’ the union added.
ASCSN said it was really absurd that somebody declared wanted by the EFCC and the International Police Organisation (INTERPOL) could arrive the country and resume duty as a director in the Ministry of Interior, without being apprehended by security agencies.
Regardless, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) said the role played by the AGF and Justice minister, Shehu malami, in Maina’s controversial reinstatement was suspect, even when the EFCC was searching frantically for him for prosecution.
HURIWA said it smacked of selfishness “as much as it amounted to a transgression against the Constitution” and called for “a comprehensive and transparent probe by an independent judicial commission.” The group said there is the need to uncover circumstances surrounding the frequent in-fighting between the EFCC and the AGF, to know if this issue of Maina’s recall was pivotal in the intractable public spat.
“Nigeria must take the opportunity and historic window offered by the sad reinstatement of Maina, to reorganise the anti-graft mechanisms. The president must clinically re-organise the hierarchies of EFCC, DSS and immediately, appoint a competently principled, legal practitioner devoid of partisan attachment”