By Soni Daniel, Regional Editor, North
ABUJA—Federal Government has bowed to pressure from the National Assembly to sack the controversial chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, from the public service of Nigeria following his refusal to appear before the lawmakers after several invitations.
Findings by Vanguard reveal that the Federal Government may have quietly dismissed Maina from service shortly after it dissolved PRTT, so as not to be seen as bowing to the dictates of the National Assembly.
Both chambers of the legislature had unanimously voted for the dismissal of Maina, an Assistant Director in the Customs, Immigration and Prisons Pensions Office, CIPPO, who was appointed to run the PRTT for 30 months only to be overwhelmed by scandals involving pensions funds management running into billions of Naira.
Although the Head of Service, Bello Sali, had said the PRTT had been dissolved and pensions funds management transferred to his office, a new Director, Olabisi Jaji, was appointed by the HoS to take over from Maina with immediate effect.
Jaji, a level 17 officer, was moved from the Ministry of Environment to take over Maina’s seat at CIPPO.
She is to be supported by a deputy Director, Elizabeth Zenetini, a level 16 officer deployed by the HoS from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to CIPPO.
A letter from the office of the HoS, which was sighted by Vanguard, directed the two officers to take over from Maina on or before March 6.
The HoS letter was, however, silent on Maina and what disciplinary actions had been taken against him for absconding from his duty post without approval.
‘He sacked himself’
A senior civil servant, who is familiar with the matter, said Maina had unwittingly shoved himself from the public service by running away from his job without any explanation.
The officer, who did not want to be named, said by absconding, the man had sacked himself from the service and that the government had taken the right steps by filling the vacancy created by his exit from the service.
Maina went underground following an arrest warrant issued by the Senate President, David Mark early in February. They are insisting that Maina be arrested and prosecuted for tampering with pension funds amounting to over N290 billion.
Maina has, however, approached a Federal High Court in Abuja to stop the police from arresting him based on the Senate’s bench warrant, which he describes as a violation of his fundamental human rights.