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Buhari sacks Maina, orders probe of recall, posting

By Terhemba Daka, Collins Olayinka, Anthony Otaru (Abuja) and Ayodele Afolabi (Ado-Ekiti)
24 October 2017   |   4:20 am
President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the immediate disengagement from service of a former chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abdullahi Abdulrasheed Maina.

Abdulrasheed Maina

• His case is sickening, stinks to high heavens, says NLC
• HOS denies reinstating him in civil service
• President’s action an afterthought, says Fayose

President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the immediate disengagement from service of a former chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abdullahi Abdulrasheed Maina.

In a memo to the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, President Buhari also demanded a full report of the circumstances of Maina’s recall and posting to the Ministry of Interior.

A statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, yesterday said the report must be submitted to the office of the Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari, before the close of work yesterday (Monday).

The Minister of Interior, Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (rtd) had confirmed the resumption of duty by Maina, as an acting director in his ministry.The confirmation came in a statement issued by the Press Secretary to the minister, Mr. Ehisienmen Osaigbovo, on Sunday.
Osaigbovo, however, debunked media reports that his principal was one of those responsible for Maina’s “re-instatement”.

“Maina was posted a few days ago to the Ministry of Interior by the Office of the Head of Service in an acting capacity to fill a vacancy created following the retirement of the director heading the Human Resources Department in the ministry.

“For the avoidance of doubt, issues relating to discipline, employment, re-engagement, posting, promotion and retirements of federal civil servants are the responsibility of the Federal Civil Service Commission and Office of the Head of Service of the Federation.

“No minister exercises such powers as erroneously expressed in this publication. It is understood that Maina’s last posting was with the Ministry of Interior, and that is probably why he was re-posted back to the ministry,” he said.

Maina was appointed by former President Goodluck Jonathan as chairman of the task force in 2010 to check corruption in the country’s pension system.

In 2012, the Nigeria Police accused him of misappropriating N100 billion pension funds in connivance with others. The Civil Service Commission reportedly dismissed him for “absconding from duty.”Maina was arraigned in absentia by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) which declared him wanted in 2015.

The anti-graft agency, through its spokesman, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, says the former pension task force chairman remains on the commission’s wanted list.The Sunday’s confirmation by the minister followed reports in the online media that Maina had been secretly re-instated and promoted to the rank of director in the ministry.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has lauded President Buhari’s action on Maina.In Abuja yesterday, President of Congress, Aruba Wabba faulted the manner of Maina’s re-entry into the civil service with alleged corruption cases that are yet to be resolved.

“The manner of Maina’s re-engagement and posting as director to the Ministry of Interior is an affront to law and procedure, insult to Nigerians and a mockery of Mr. President’s fight against corruption. Indeed it is the height of arrogance and impunity.”Except those involved in the ‘Mainagate’, every other person in Nigeria was aware of the report of the Senate after a painstaking investigation; the refusal of Maina to avail himself to the Senate or the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC); his being declared wanted by the EFCC; and his taking refuge in the corridors of power then (complete with a retinue of armed personnel) before his subsequent absconding to a foreign country when power changed hands,” Wabba said.

The NLC boss 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 nothing. Instead, he and his co-conspirators in the new corridors of power elected to do the unthinkable, promoted and posted him because they think we Nigerians have forgotten. It is sickening. It stinks to high heavens.”

Wabba said that as a follow-up to President Buhari’s directive, the NLC demanded a full investigation into the circumstances that led to Maina’s flight and reinstatement and prosecution on allegations of corruption. He insisted that the president must firmly put his foot down, else some people would rubbish all that he has ever been known for.

But Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State described Buhari’s directive on Maina as an afterthought.He said, “the President only acted to save his face from the global embarrassment caused him by the outcry of Nigerians on the news of Maina’s reinstatement.”

Fayose demanded immediate arrest and trial of Maina as well as sack of all those who perpetrated his reinstatement, which he described as fraudulent and shameful.

In a statement by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, Governor Fayose, who likened Buhari’s anti-corruption fight to a situation where “Satan is calling Judas Iscariot a sinner,” reminded Nigerians that he said before now that the kind of corruption that would be witnessed in President Buhari’s government would be unprecedented and that he had been vindicated.

He described the government of Buhari as corruption personified, noting that “If Maina, who was declared wanted for corrupt practices by the International Police Organisation, (INTERPOL) after he was dismissed from office by the Civil Service Commission in 2013 for allegedly committing N2.1billion pension fraud while in office, could be secretly reinstated and even promoted without writing the required civil service promotion examination, no one should be in doubt any longer that Buhari is not fighting any corruption.”

Contrary to speculations, the Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifrsed Oyo-Ita, has denied any knowledge of the return of Maina to the federal civil service.Oyo-Ita said the HOS Office has no knowledge of the return of the embattled officer’s return.

In a statement signed yesterday by the Assistant Director (Media Relations) Mohammed Manga, Office of the Head of Service in Abuja, Oyo-Ita faulted media reports that the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation approved the re-in statement of 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 re-in statement and posting of Maina never emanated from the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.”