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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Buhari’s Govt Invited Maina, Family Says



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Buhari’s govt invited Maina, family says

Buhari’s govt invited Maina, family says

  • It is freshly minted falsehood – Presidency
  • We’re not aware he was wanted – Immigration

The family of embattled former chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina, has said he was invited by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to assist it in reforming the pension sector.

The Presidency has however dismissed this claim as “a freshly minted falsehood,” adding that “The family that made that claim simply wanted to be ridiculous. Please ignore them.”

Spokesman for the Maina family, Malam Aliyu Maina, flanked by Salihu Maina and Ladan Abdullahi, addressed the media yesterday in Kaduna, where he promised to expose the cabal at the presidency responsible for their son’s ordeal.

“The entire family of Abdullahi Maina is categorically stating that our son is not in any way a fraudster, rather he is a messiah who brought reforms into Nigerian Pension Scheme, whose effort saw the disappearance of pensioners roaming the streets of Abuja and other state capital in Nigeria.

“It is on record that Abdulrasheed Maina’s reform put to a stop the fraudulent withdrawals of huge sums from both the Nigerian Pension Board, the Nigerian Police Pension Board etc. Perhaps it is this 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.”

He said they had   noticed the recent attempt by the cabal to ridicule and tarnish the image of Maina family.

“The cabals have gone to the extent of marking our house in red paints with an inscription of EFCC under investigation. The EFCC is wrong in their action because Abdulrasheed inherited so many properties from his late father in Kaduna and Abuja, some of them were built before he was born so how could he have acquired them fraudulently?

“We are aware that all this act of calumny is not targeted against Abdulrasheed Maina alone but against the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria and the office of the Attorney General. We have contacted our lawyers Messrs Mamman Nasir & Co and instructed them to act appropriately.

“We equally know that Abdulrasheed Maina is in possession of many facts that is against the cabal and interesting to the Nigerian populace, which he will disclose very soon,” the family said.

They said he left Nigeria following threats to his life.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had on Monday and Tuesday in Abuja and Kaduna sealed and marked houses traced to Maina for investigation.

‘Jonathan’s loyalists behind Maina’s reinstatement’

The Presidency, in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, debunked the claim by the Maina family.

It also blamed former President Goodluck Jonathan’s loyalists for the reinstatement of Maina, saying the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had no moral right to accuse the current government in respect to the embattled former pension boss.

Shehu, in an earlier statement last night, stated: “Some influential officials loyal to the previous government may have been the invisible hand in the latest scandal that saw the return of Maina to the public service, despite being on the EFCC’s wanted list.”

He described Maina as one of “the monsters created by the former PDP government, and which are still rearing their ugly heads long after the party was soundly defeated in the 2015 elections.

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“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.

Shehu said Maina was not the only top member of the former government involved in the multi billion 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,” Shehu stated.

He assured Nigerians that President Muhammadu Buhari was determined to get to “the bottom of the matter of the impunity that led to Maina’s reinstatement.”

We read Maina’s arrest warrant in newspapers – Immigration

The Nigeria Immigration Services (NIS) was not officially notified of the arrest warrant against the embattled former chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms Abdulrasheed Maina, its spokesperson Sunday James told Daily Trust last night.

Speaking to Daily Trust by telephone, James said no government agency notified the NIS of the arrest warrant against Maina.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2013 declared Maina wanted for alleged pension fraud. The Interpol also reportedly issued an international arrest warrant against the ex-pension task force chief.

But when this reporter inquired from the NIS spokesperson why the service allowed Maina to come back to the country despite the arrest warrant by the EFCC and the Interpol, he said he was not aware.

“Was Maina ever out of the country?” He said. When reminded that Maina reportedly fled to Dubai since 2013 when he was declared wanted by the EFCC, the Immigration image maker said: “I have no such information.”

“As the spokesperson for the service (NIS), I can tell you that we don’t have records of Maina’s exit or entry. We are not aware of his exit or entry from this country from our records,” he said.

Mr James said the service read the order on the pages of newspapers, like other Nigerians.

“We read the warrant of arrest on Maina on the pages of newspapers. The Comptroller General of Immigration would have acted promptly on it if such order was ever communicated to the service,” James, an assistant comptroller of Immigration, said.

He said when individuals are declared wanted by security organizations, such organizations officially communicate the order to the CG of Immigration, “who will immediately put his officials on notice at all entry and exit points across the country. When such orders are given, our officials act promptly and such wanted individuals will hardly escape,” he said.

“They (wanted individuals) can only escape from us if they use any of the several illegal entry and exit points, which are not manned by Immigration officials,” Mr James said.

Sources told Daily Trust that Maina used to come and go between Niger Republic and Nigeria since April but ‘settled down’ in August shortly before the return of President Buhari from his sick-leave in London. It was also alleged that Maina uses a Nigerien passport.

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‘Why Maina evaded arrest’

A total breakdown of synergy among law enforcement agencies in Nigeria led to the failure to arrest Maina despite being declared wanted since 2015, sources to Daily Trust.

One of the security sources said it is impossible for the Nigeria Immigration Service and the Nigeria Customs Service as well as the Department of State Services (DSS) to claim ignorance about Maina’s travels in and out of Nigeria.

He said the country lacked an integrated database of wanted persons for security agencies to act on, adding that the DSS or police may not be compelled to arrest Maina even though he had been declared wanted by the EFCC.

The DSS could not be reached to comment on the matter.

Also contacted yesterday, the spokesman of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), CSP Jimoh Moshood, said the police never received any request for protection from Maina and no policeman was posted to do so.

How FCSC succumbed to pressure

The acting Chairman of the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC) Mr. Joseph Olufemi Akande succumbed to pressure in reinstating Maina.

Multiple sources told Daily Trust that the immediate past chairman of the FCSC Deaconess Joan Ayo, who retired in April after finishing her tenure, was contacted by Akande for advice, and she asked what he would have done if she were not around.

It was also learnt that while two of the commissioners of the FCSC warned Akande against the reinstatement, the rest advised him to act since it was directives from the Presidency and also that of the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation Abubakar Malami.

Contacted, the spokesman of the FCSC, Dr. Joel Oruche, said he did not have information for  Daily Trust as the acting chairman, other commissioners and top management staff were conducting promotions interview.

“I would get across to you once there is any information to give,” Oruche said.

‘AGF acted according to law’

The AGF advised the reinstatement of Maina based on law, one of his aides said yesterday.

The aide pleaded anonymity “so as not to pre-empt the presentation by the AGF at the investigation panels by both the Presidency and National Assembly.”

“Maina, who recovered N282billion pension funds during the President Goodluck Jonathan regime, should be invited to explain what happened to the money, which the taskforce deposited at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“Since it was in President Jonathan’s regime, is that not why Maina should be alive so that he can tell his story?” he said.

He said the AGF did not bring back Maina through the backdoor, but gave his legal opinion to the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC) based on the due process of the law.

He said Maina, who was suspended and later dismissed for his prolonged absence from duty in 2012, challenged both the dismissal and arrest warrant by the EFCC, adding that the EFCC did not appeal both court verdicts.

“Why didn’t the EFCC appeal against the judgment setting aside its warrant of arrest? Why didn’t the EFCC arrest Maina who has been in the country since April 2016?” he queried.

Source: Daily Trust

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