It came as a rude shock to many when news filtered in last week that the ex-chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Mr Abdulrasheed Abdullahi Maina had not only returned to the country but had also been reinstated back into the civil service with a promotion to boot. The news made many ears tingle and many tongues wag not just because Mr Maina returned to the country but because it looked like he was being rewarded for the alleged acts of corruption he was said to have committed while in office. It was a big dent on the image of the government especially in it’s widely acclaimed war against corruption.
Mr Abdulrasheed Maina fled the country in 2013 after an overwhelming public outcry and repeated attempts by the National Assembly( both arms) including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to probe his management of the pension funds in the country. Mr Maina was alleged to have committed fraud in his management of the pension funds to the tune of several billions of naira. Some news reports put it is as high as N400 billion naira. He was said to have lived a luxurious lifestyle allegedly with public funds owning two bullet proof cars and spending as much as N8million naira on policemen and other security officials that protect him every two weeks. He was also alleged to have spent over N1billion naira on biometric verification of workers with nothing to show for it.
Various politicians, groups, stakeholders, the media and civil society organizations have roundly condemned Maina’s return and subsequent promotion to the post of Director in the civil service including his secondment to the Ministry of Interior. I must also not fail to commend the immediate and prompt response of President Muhammadu Buhari with his directive to the Head of the Civil Service, Mrs Winifred Eyo-Ita, to immediately relieve Maina of his appointment. It is a step in the right direction. I must also commend his directive to the various security agencies to not only arrest Maina but to charge him to court for his alleged acts of corruption. He should also take it a step further by instituting a panel of inquiry to investigate how Maina got into the country, and who was responsible for his re absorption and subsequent promotion in the civil service. All those complicit in this disastrous and shameful act should have disciplinary action instituted against them no matter how powerful or highly placed they might be.