The presidency insisted yesterday that the disengagement of former chairman of the presidential task force on pension reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina, followed due process.
This is coming on the heels of contention by some lawyers in the country that Maina’s sack was a clear violation of the provisions of civil service rules.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Monday directed the immediate disengagement of Maina from service.
A statement by special adviser to the president on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, noted that in a memo to the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, President Buhari equally demanded a full report of the circumstances of Maina’s recall and posting to the Ministry of Interior.
Adesina said the report is to be submitted to the office of the Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari, before the end of work yesterday.
In a series of tweets yesterday from its twitter handle, @NGR President, the presidency said Buhari only directed appropriate authorities to effect the order in compliance with due process.
The tweets read: “Reports that due process was not followed in the disengagement of Mr. Maina from service are incorrect.
“The President directed the appropriate authorities to effect the disengagement in compliance with due process.
“President Buhari will continue to ensure that due process is followed every step of the way”.
Maina who is on the wanted list of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over allegations of complicity in a N2bn fraud had absconded from the federal civil service as assistant director after the anti-graft agency issued a warrant of arrest on him.
Few days ago, news broke of the discreet reinstatement of Maina into the service as director in the Ministry of Interior, a development that generated mixed reactions.
Meanwhile, the Senate yesterday commended President Muhammadu Buhari for taking prompt action by setting up a panel to investigate the circumstances surrounding the recall and reinstatement of the embattled Maina.
Accordingly, the Red Chamber also constituted an ad-hoc committee comprising chairmen and vice chairmen of the Senate committees on interior, public service and establishment, anti-corruption and internal affairs to probe the Attorney General of the federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, for allegedly directing the reinstatement of Maina unconstitutionally.
The Senate said the AGF directed the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC) to reinstate Maina after being declared wanted by the antigraft agency.
The head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, however, did not make any input into Maina’s reinstatement as details of who authorised Maina’s return were contained in a letter of reinstatement sent to the wanted officer by the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC).
The letter dated September 18 and signed by Mustapha L. Sulaiman for the FCSC chairman indicated that the AGF advised the FCSC that Maina should be reinstated.
President Buhari had on Monday directed the immediate disengagement from service of Maina and ordered that investigative report on the controversy be submitted to him immediately.
At plenary yesterday, the lawmakers vehemently condemned the reinstatement of Maina, noting that the situation has brought discredit to the anti-corruption campaign of the Buhari administration.
According to the lawmakers, there are persons who are high-ranking officials in the Buhari administration but are working relentlessly to rubbish the anti-corruption initiative.
The Senators said AGF Malami, who gave the directive should be properly investigated and be made to face the consequences of his action, even as some of the lawmakers also called for his sack.
The position of the Senate came through a motion on order 42 and 52 of the Senate rules moved by Senator Isah Misau (Bauchi Central).
According to Misau, the reinstatement of Maina is obviously done in a corrupt manner because he (Maina) ought to have explained the charges leveled against him and not just to return and be discreetly promoted for an exalted position.
Concurring, Senator Olushola Adeyeye (Osun Central), noted that certain people in the executive are determined to make President Buhari to fail.
He insisted that since Maina returned without any notice to security agencies, those who are responsible for his reinstatement should be held accountable for it.
Senators Dino Melaye (Kogi West) and Atai Aidoko (Kogi East) in their submissions said the action of the AGF is a clear indication of gross colossal incompetence.
They stated that taking an illegal action to reinstate a wanted officer is complete act of impunity, which must be checked unfailingly.
On the contrary, Senator Tayo Alashoadura (Ondo Central), argued that since the federal government has already constituted a committee to investigate the matter, the Senate ought to put on hold any drastic action until the report from the presidency is presented.
Consequently, the Senate mandated the committees on public service and establishment, interior, anti-corruption and internal affairs to quickly launch an investigation to determine the circumstances surrounding the return of Maina to the country and how he got promoted, having been declared wanted.
Senate President Bukola Saraki urged the ad-hoc committee to work very well on the investigation and come out with recommendations in order to check the illegality and enhance the fight against corruption.
‘Wanted Maina Moves With Security Escorts’
The House of Representatives has set-up an ad hoc committee to investigate the disappearance, re-appearance, reinstatement and promotion of embattled former chairman of the presidential task team on pensions reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina.
This is just as the chairman of the House committee on Public Safety, National Security and Intelligence, Hon Aminu Sani Jaji, has vowed to expose those who compromised national security by aiding Maina’s return to the country without him being arrested.
Jaji who said there are reports that Maina was accompanied by security operatives when he visited his family in Borno State two months ago noted that the breach of national security would be thoroughly investigated.
The House at the resumption of plenary yesterday commended President Buhari for being proactive in directing the immediate sack of the fugitive pension boss from the federal civil service.
The Green Chamber urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to immediately arrest Maina for subsequent prosecution in order to serve as deterrent to other Nigerians with corrupt tendencies.
The House made its position known, while debating on a motion of urgent national importance sponsored by the chairman, House Committee on Interior, Jagaba Adams Jagaba.
Jagaba observed that the National Assembly had invited Maina to appear before its committees, but he turned down the invitation on several occasions.
Speaking to journalists on the matter, a lawmaker Jaji said a lot of issues have been linked to the Maina debacle, which bothers on effectiveness of the intelligence community.
He said, “There are lots of questions and many people want to know how it is and that is the reason why in our today’s meeting, it almost took all our time. I could remember two months ago when one of the honourable colleagues drew my attention to the fact that Maina was in town and was even escorted to Maiduguri to see his people.
“So, many people believe that the intelligence community must know something about it.”
He however pointed out the House would not conclude based on mere allegations.
“As a parliament we cannot conclude. We are going to discover all those who aided the security breach and we will know if indeed he was escorted by security operatives, and if he visited his state”, Jaji stated.
EFCC Cracks Down On Maina’s 8 Properties In Kaduna
The manhunt for embattled Maina continued yesterday, with a crackdown on properties allegedly belonging to him by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
LEADERSHIP gathered that 8 properties allegedly belonging to the embattled Maina have already been sealed in Kaduna with more to go.
Our correspondent learnt that the operation, which started on Monday, is to continue today as more properties allegedly belonging to him are being identified and sealed.
An official of the anti-graft agency told journalists that more properties belonging to Maina are still being identified and may be sealed.
The EFCC official, Ibrahim Kamal said, “So far, the commission has identified six properties belonging to Maina, including two companies which were sealed”.
According to him, one of the houses is along Ibrahim Taiwo road and another is along Kwaturu road, off Warrior road, while four are located along Kano road by Kawo extension.