“WHETHER the Chairman of Pension Reform Task Team, Alhaji Abdulrasheed Maina is in the country or has run away is not as important as the way we handle matters.
Since last December, Alhaji Maina had emphatically stated he would not appear before the Senate Committee on Establishment.
The Committee after threatening Maina for weeks confirmed how powerless the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is – the Committee said it was unable to do anything about the issue.
According to the Committee, powerful people were behind Maina and were shielding him from the law. The Committee said it was handing the matter over to God.
Maina claimed his team uncovered N3.3 trillion pension fund fraud while the Senate summoned Maina over theft of N195 billion at the Pension Office. Maina ignored the Senate.
Public opprobrium at the Senate’s stand caused it to say everything would be done to cause Maina to account for the infractions at the Pension Office. Nothing was done until last week’s order that the President should fire Maina, who denied the police declared him wanted, and then filed a suit to halt his prosecution for the pension fraud.
He was still not arrested. He avoided the Senate for as long as he wanted. His attitude says a lot about our laws and how they are mostly for the lowly, the poor and those who have not amassed adequate resources to be included in the power rungs.
How do individuals become too powerful for their country? How do the Mainas know that they can get away with whatever they want? Why do they treat the law with such scant interest? Which law do they use? How would the Senate manage the insult Maina so successfully unleashed on it since last year?
We are not sure Maina is guilty of the allegations against him. What baffles us is his insistence on not presenting himself before the law. He has been at it for months and it seems he knows that he cannot be punished even for refusing to appear before the Senate.
The Presidency’s confusion over the matter compounded it. Why would the Senate accuse the Presidency of shielding Maina? Why the muddled responses from the Presidency?
Some complicity is on among the Senate, police and Presidency on this issue. Do they realise the importance of pensions, the source of sustenance for many in their old age? Has the handling of this issue reflected the interests of pensioners who are poor, mostly ill, aged and live on the pittance if ever it is paid?
There are many Mainas in the affairs of Nigeria; Abdulrasheed simply served us notice of their powers.