There are indications that President Muhammadu Buhari may wield the big stick on top government officials who aided the reinstatement of Mr Abdullahi Abdulrasheed Maina as director in charge of human resources in the Ministry of Interior.
The president yesterday ordered that a full report of the circumstances that led to Maina’s recall and posting to the Ministry of Interior be made available to him.
This was after he had ordered the immediate disengagement from service of the former chairman of the presidential task force on pension reforms.
According to a statement by his special adviser on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, President Buhari’s directive is contained in a memo to the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.
Adesina said the report on Maina’s reinstatement is to be submitted to the office of the Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari, before the end of work yesterday.
There had been uproar over report that Maina was secretly re-instated and promoted to the rank of director in the ministry.
A top presidency source told LEADERSHIP yesterday that President Buhari who learnt about Maina’s reinstatement in the newspapers, just like every other Nigerian, when he arrived the country on Sunday was visibly angry over the development.
“The president demanded for details of the circumstances that led to Maina’s disengagement from the service in 2014 and the EFCC furnished him with all the necessary information, including its latest discoveries on the matter. Palpably angry over Maina’s reinstatement at a time he is tackling corruption head on, the president last night ordered that Maina be disengaged immediately as contained in a statement by Adesina today (yesterday)”, the source told our correspondent.
Maina who was dismissed in 2013 by the Federal Civil Service Commission following a recommendation by the Office of the Head of Service was reinstated to head the human resources department of the ministry of Interior.
The Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, confirmed the recall in a statement issued by his chief press secretary, Ehisienmen Osaigbovo on Sunday.
Dambazau, however, blamed Maina’s recall on the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation and the Federal Civil Service Commission.
LEADERSHIP recalls that Maina was appointed by former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2010 as chairman of the presidential task force to check corruption in the country’s pension system.
In 2012, he was accused by the Police of misappropriating N100 billion pension funds in connivance with others.
Maina was arraigned in absentia by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) after he was declared wanted in 2015.
The EFCC on Monday insisted that Maina is still on the wanted list of the commission.
Meanwhile, LEADERSHIP gathered that in line with the president’s directive, a report on Maina’s reinstatement was presented to the president yesterday evening.
HoS, DSS Deny Knowledge
Meanwhile, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita and the Department of State Services (DSS) yeserday said they have no knowledge about the reinstatement of Maina as director in the Ministry of Interior.
Specifically, the HoS said there was no truth in the reports that she approved the reinstatement of the former chairman of the presidential task force on pension reforms and his subsequent posting to the Ministry of Interior.
In a statement by her assistant director on media relations, Mohammed Manga, the HoS insisted that Maina’s restatement and posting did not emanate from her office.
The three-paragraph statement noted: “The attention of the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation has been drawn to several media reports that the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation has approved the reinstatement into the Federal Civil Service of Alhaji Abdulrasheed Abdullahi Maina and his subsequent posting to the Ministry of Interior.
“The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HCSF) wishes to inform the public that the reinstatement and posting of Alhaji Abdulrasheed Abdullahi Maina never emanated from the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.
“Consequently, the purported reinstatement and posting by the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation is totally erroneous and misleading”.
On its part, the DSS stated categorically that it had no hand in the recall or reinstatement of Maina.
It said there was no correspondence of any sort between it and the Head of Service with respect to Maina.
The DSS said it is not investigating Maina nor handling any matter connected to him and that neither has it ever forwarded any correspondence to Mr. President nor any arm of government for the recall or reinstatement of Maina.
The statement by the secret police made available to LEADERSHIP reads in part: “The Service is aware that Mr Maina is a civil servant and any disciplinary action as regards Maina’s official conduct will therefore be handled as required by the Civil service rules.
“So, it will therefore be absurd for anybody to imply or insinuate that the DSS has a hand in the recall or reinstatement of Maina.
“Mr Maina had been in the country for quite sometime and it would be absurd for someone who should know to claim ignorance of his being around”.
EFCC Storms Maina’s House
Security operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday stormed a building allegedly owned by sacked director of human resources in the Interior Ministry, Abdulrasheed Maina.
Maina has been on the wanted list of the commission for about two years now.
The EFCC had recently launched a manhunt for the arrest of Maina who had shunned all invitations by the anti-graft agency to explain his involvement in allegations of misappropriation and embezzlement of pension funds.
Our reporter, who visited the building at No. 10 Hamisu Musa Road, Jabi district at about 4:00pm yesterday, saw stern looking police officers giving cover to an operative in mufti who was marking the house in red.
The building is said to have been purchased by Maina to the tune of $2 million.
LEADERSHIP also gathered reliably that another building suspected to be Maina’s house, which is located at No. 12, Road 11, Kado Estate is also scheduled for similar exercise during the week.
Meanwhile, the whereabouts of the embattled civil servant is yet to be ascertained, as he is said to have gone underground.
PDP, NLC React
But Nigerians have continued to react to the circumstances surrounding the reinstatement and eventual sack of Maina with the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) demanding his immediate arrest and prosecution.
The opposition party, while expressing shock at the reinstatement of Maina, also said those who aided his return to the country and posted him to office should be prosecuted.
PDP specifically called for the sack of the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Danbazzau, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, who they say were allegedly fingered in restoring Maina in office.
In a statement by its national publicity secretary, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, PDP lampooned the administration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) over the Maina saga, saying it was suspecting that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is complicit in the matter.
Adeyeye said, “We are shocked and sad as well that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with its viable network under the administration of the PDP has suddenly lost steam to the point that it wasn’t aware of the entrance of a high class wanted (person) into the country until the media exposed it.
“Nigerians can see that the APC administration has taken the fire out of our security agencies like the Police, the Department of State Services (DSS) and the likes.
“How else can one explain why it took the media to expose the arrival and promotion of Maina by the government before the agencies became aware of his presence in the country,” the statement wondered.
PDP said the immediate past administration had mandated the anti-corruption agencies to prosecute Maina, adding that the former pension boss “fled, only to resurface in the country four months ago under the Buhari administration.
“While we are growing fatigued shouting ourselves hoarse in protest against nepotism, a clear form of corruption under this administration which has been elevated to state craft, we are appalled that the reinforcement of financial corruption by this government might soon lead to the demise of this nation if the celestial does not intervene”, it added.
The party demanded from the APC government, the civil service rule it relied upon in promoting Maina, who had abandoned his duty post as an assistant director, to the position of a director with all benefits attached.
The PDP again challenged the APC government to tell Nigerians the court jurisdiction that cleared Maina of criminal allegations of stealing to have warranted his restoration to duty.
The party also recalled that Ahmed Gambo Saleh, former Registrar of the Supreme Court, who was accused of stealing N2.2 billion belonging to the Supreme Court and was caught, was now made secretary of the National judicial Council (NJC).
PDP continued: “Unexplainably, same Ahmed Gambo Saleh is now also the secretary of the committee monitoring corruption trials.
“Nigerians have not forgotten in a hurry how the so called corruption fighting government of President Buhari refused to allow the law take its course in the graft allegations involving suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Babachir Lawal and the Director-General of the Nigeria Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ayo Oke.
“The government seem to have also buried without shame the expose by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, on the illegal award of contracts running to over $25 billion by the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) who has told the world that he has the support of President Buhari in carrying out the heist”.
In the same vein, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday commended President Muhammadu Buhari for ordering the immediate disengagement from service of the former chairman of the pension reform task force.
A statement signed by the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, noted that the manner in which Maina was reinstated and posted as director to the Ministry of Interior is an affront to law and procedure and an insult to Nigerians.
Ayuba in the statement also said the re-engagement of Maina was a mockery of the president’s fight against corruption and the height of arrogance and impunity.
He said, “As a follow-up action to Mr President’s directive, we at the Nigeria Labour Congress demand a full investigation of the circumstances that led to Maina’s flight and reinstatement, and prosecution on allegations of corruption.
“Mr President must firmly put his foot down, else some people will rubbish all that he has ever been known for!”
He further said Maina had all the opportunity to clear his name in court if he felt the Senate and EFCC were biased against him.
“But he did none of this. Instead, he and his co-conspirators in the new corridor of power elected to do the unthinkable, promoteed and posted him because they think we Nigerians have forgotten. It is sickening. It stinks to high heavens”. (Leadership)