The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, is miffed by the unfolding facts surrounding the sudden re-emergence of ex-chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, AbdulrasheedMaina, once accused of complicity in a multi-billion naira scam. Not only did Maina resurfaced, Nigerians woke to be greeted with the rude news that the ex-fugitive, who had been in the wanted list of the security apparatus in the country, has been made a Director in a Federal Agency. There couldn’t have been more devastating news in a country where anti-corruption discharges are being taunted as the hallmark of governance.
Even as the Federal Government has ordered the reversal of Maina’s appointment, we are disturbed by the chain of atrocities that gave birth to his sudden appearance in Nigeria, ostensibly without the knowledge of the security apparatus that were supposed to have been on his trail in the past four years.
CACOL had recently called on the Federal Government to embark on a house cleaning that would relieve some ministers of their jobs, among them the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, (AGF), MalamiAbubakar, whose name also resonate in the recent saga to confirm that hardly would there be any high profile scandal in the country without AGF’s involvement.
The Executive Chairman of CACOL, Comrade DeboAdeniran, noted with disdain that the unfettered reappearance of Maina and his absurd appointment as a Director in a Federal Agency smacked of executive arrogance, management ruthlessness and an affront on the collective intelligence of Nigerians by government.
“We are very aware that Maina was declared wanted by the police and the EFCC. In that case, it is evident that the EFCC, the police, the DSS, the interior ministry and even Interpol should have been on the case since it got to their knowledge that Maina had crossed international borders.
What happened with all these agencies? Did he actually sneak into the country without the knowledge of all the security apparatus? Was there a process that vacated the wanted status? What was this process and who were involved? These are very salient questions that are begging for urgent response from government,” he said
CACOL’s stance is that while the civil service aspect can be sorted out and erring officers punished, “we crave to know if our borders are that porous that those charged with the responsibilities to watch over it are so helplessly inefficient.”
We are of the opinion that all these are happening as a result of official laxities and gross despondence on the path of people charged with governmental responsibilities. And this is the reason President MohammaduBuhari, at this point, needs to match his words with urgent action by producing all that partook in the evil process that brought back Maina into the country unchallenged and even made moves to impose him on us as a top public officer. We hasten President MohammaduBuhari to address these issues alongside the probe he had already requested.
Available information has shown the involvement and full knowledge of Winifred Oyo-Ita, Head of the Civil Service of the Federation; AbdulrahmanDambazau, Minister of Interior; and AbubakarMalami, Minister of Justice, in the deal gone sour.
It will be recalled that the Federal Civil Service Commission dismissed Maina in 2013 for absconding from duty following a recommendation by the office of the Head of Service after which he was accused of being involved in pension fraud running into over N100 billion.
Sequel to the allegation, an investigation by the senate joint committee on public service and establishment and state and local government administration found him guilty and a warrant of arrest was issued against him.
On the heels of the warrant, the police declared him wanted and he went into hiding. He reportedly fled to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It was after his long absence from office that he was dismissed.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) also declared him wanted, while the INTERPOL issued a worldwide red alert on Maina, based on a request from the EFCC.
But like a bolt from the blue, four years later, Maina managed to find his way back into the civil service in a manner that beats all logic and reasoning. It is sad that this is happening in a society striving to gain sanity through a declaration of total war against every act of corruption.
We call on the Federal Government, to at this point, wake up to full action by dusting up its cabinet to ensure that the right people are in the right places. Manifestations such as these are clear indication that the President is not in firm grip of happenings under his administration.
Though we sympathise with the government, being a child of necessity abruptly put up to end the shenanigans of the then rampaging administration, we believe two years is enough to study a strange bedfellow and put them in their proper place in history. The seemingly inactivity of government in certain areas, we believe, is as a result of some of these square pegs in a round hole.
While we here demand for a thorough and holistic investigation into the raging MainaGate and the award of due punishment for those found wanting in the saga that led to the reinstatement, we also demand for a quick fix of the entire polity through agile descent on those that have constituted themselves to a clique causing restlessness to the entire polity. The earlier this is done, the better for all of us.