The recall of Abdulrasheed Maina to Federal civil service has divided Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Department of State Service (DSS) along operational duties.
The EFCC accused DSS of involvement in the recall of Maina, yet DSS washed its hands off the affair, saying it did not smuggle the embattled officer who was on the wanted list of the EFCC into his new office.
The DSS in a statement made available to journalists last night said: “The DSS, hereby, states categorically that it has no hand in the recall or reinstatement of Mr Abdullahi Abdulrasheed Maina.
“There was no correspondence of any sort between the DSS and the Head of Service with respect to Mr. Maina. The DSS is not investigating him nor handling any matter connected to Maina and neither has the DSS ever forwarded any correspondence to Mr. President or any arm of government for the recall or reinstatement of Maina.
“The Service is aware that Mr. Maina is a civil servant and any disciplinary action as regards Maina’s official conduct will, therefore, be handled as required by the civil service rules. So it will, therefore, be absurd for anybody to imply or insinuate that the DSS has a hand in the recall or reinstatement of Maina.”
President Muhammadu Buhari, Monday, ordered the immediate dismissal of Abdulrasheed Maina, the erstwhile boss of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms from the civil service of the federation.
A source from the Presidency said Buhari was greatly embarrassed by the outrage that followed the recall and repositioning of Maina as a director, having abandoned the service upon the indictments raised against him on the misuse of an estimated N100 billion from the pension funds of the country.
The controversy over the recall again exposed the frail relationships within the administration as the Head of Service, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, accused the Minister of Interior, General Abdulrahman Dambazau, of lying against her, following his earlier claim that her office posted Maina to the Ministry of Interior as a director.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has challenged the President to follow up the action by sacking Abdulrahman Dambazzau and Abubakar Malami, Ministers of Interior and Justice respectively over their alleged role in the surprised reinstatement of Maina into the civil service of the federation.
The PDP said even though shielding criminals may have become part of the administration’s work ethics, it would not be silenced by what it claimed as the apparent determination of the All Progressives Congress, APC, administration to keep a deaf ear to such.
Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State on his part, called Maina’s sack as an afterthought saying it was done to save office.
Prof. Itse Sagay, Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption, PACAC, also called for the prosecution of those who absorbed Maina back into the service.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL on its part said the development tended to validate claims of the existence of a corruption network within the administration.
President Buhari’s order for the sack of Maina was, however, welcomed by the Comrade Ayuba Wabba-led Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC.
Meanwhile, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Monday raided two houses belonging to Maina in Abuja and sealed them off.
The action followed outrage across the country of reports that Maina, who became a fugitive from justice had been reinstated into the civil service of the federation and given double promotion, despite indictments raised against him pertaining to the misuse of pension funds.
The president’s move to dismiss Maina was conveyed through a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, who said the president also ordered an investigation into how Maina came to be recalled.
Adesina said: “In a memo to the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, the President equally demanded a full report of the circumstances of Maina’s recall and posting to the Ministry of Interior.
“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 today, Monday, October 23, 2017.”
Maina was sacked from the civil service in 2013 and was placed on the wanted list of the International Police, INTERPOL, by the EFCC.
He nevertheless affirmed that the Maina issue was a carry-over from the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
“You recall that Maina as head of the Pension Task Force had told a meeting in the Presidential Villa, how the pension funds were shared and when he left the meeting, his vehicle was fired at, and maybe, that was how he fled from the country.”
However, Maina, who was declared wanted by the EFCC in 2015, has gone underground apparently to avoid being apprehended following President Buhari’s order for his immediate sack and the resolve by EFCC to fish him out by all means.
Checks in the Ministry of Interior, where he had been promoted to an acting director in charge of Human Resources vide a letter dated October 2, 2017, showed that he did not report for duty on Monday.
The Spokesman for the Interior Ministry, Mr. Willie Bassey, denied knowledge of Maina’s presence or posting to the ministry but admitted reading about the controversies surrounding his reinstatement and posting to the office.