• ‘PDP can’t attack Buhari over ex-pension boss’
The former Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina, threatened yesterday to open a can of worms and implicate what he called a cabal in the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Disclosing Maina’s position in a statement, his family said that he was invited to join the Buhari government.
“It is on record that Abdulrasheed Maina ‘s reform put a stop to fraudulent withdrawal of huge sums from both the Nigerian Pension Board and the Nigerian Police Pension Board. Perhaps it is his noble effort 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,” the family said.
Maina was sacked in 2013 for his involvement in a N100 billion pension scam. He later turned down summonses from authorities before fleeing the country.
But Maina reappeared in the country as a deputy director in the Ministry of Interior.
Following public outcry, Buhari recently ordered Maina’s sacking and probe into how he returned into the country and was posted to the ministry.
But yesterday, the family of Maina came to his defence, saying he was in possession of facts capable of exposing the cabal after him.
In a statement by a member of the family, Aliyu Maina, he stated that Maina was not a fraudster, but a messiah who brought remarkable reforms into the Nigerian pension scheme, as the reform under him averted fraudulent withdrawal and syphoning of pension funds.
The statement reads: “You must have noticed the recent attempt by some cabal to ridicule and tarnish the image of the Maina family in both social, electronic and print media . where our brother, father and uncle have been blackmailed as a fraudster. The cabal has gone to the extent of marking our house in red paints with an inscription of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
“The entire family of Abdullahi Maina hereby categorically states that our son is not in any way a fraudster, rather he is a messiah whose effort saw the disappearance of pensioners roaming the streets of F.C.T and other state capitals.
“We are aware that all this act of calumny is not targeted against Abdulrasheed Maina but the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Office of the Attorney General.”
The family said it had contacted its solicitors and instructed them to act. “We equally know that Abdulrasheed Maina is in possession of so many facts that is against the cabal and interesting to the Nigeria populace, which he will disclose soonest. One must ask whether it is an offence for somebody to serve his father’s land faithfully,” the statement concluded.
Meanwhile, the Presidency has insisted that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has no moral rectitude to level any accusation against the current government in respect of Maina.
In a statement yesterday, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu 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.
“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.
Referring to records from the investigations that led to the disgrace of the former pension boss and his being declared wanted by the EFCC, Shehu noted that 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 sectorial 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 said.
The presidential spokesman noted that 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, however, assured Nigerians that President Buhari was determined to get to the bottom of the matter of the impunity that led to Maina’s reinstatement.
“Everything will be uncovered in due course. This just goes to show us the scale of corruption that this government is fighting. And, as we can all see, corruption keeps fighting back viciously,” he said.
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