By Anthony Ogbonna
Just some hours after the Minister of Interior, retired Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau, confirmed the resumption of duty by former Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina, as an Acting Director in his ministry, President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered for the immediate sack of Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina from service.
A statement made available to newsmen by Femi Adesina, Buhari’s Special Adviser on media, said President Buhari also asked for a full report on the circumstances of Maina’s recall.
Recall that the minister of Interrior had confirmed Maina’s resumption of duty in a statement issued by his Press Secretary, Mr Ehisienmen Osaigbovo, on Sunday.
Osaigbovo, had in the confirmatory statement, however, debunked media reports that his principal was one of those responsible for Maina’s “re-instatement”.
According to him, “Maina was posted few days ago to the Ministry of Interior by the Office of the Head of Service on an Acting capacity to fill a vacancy created following the retirement of the Director heading the Human Resources Department in the Ministry.
“For the avoidance of doubt, issues relating to discipline, employment, re-engagement, posting, promotion and retirements of federal civil servants are the responsibility of the Federal Civil Service Commission and Office of the Head of Service of the Federation.
“No minister exercises such powers as erroneously expressed in this publication. “It is understood that Maina’s last posting was with the Ministry of Interior, and that is probably why he was re-posted back to the ministry,” he said.
But a statement by Femi Adesina, on Monday, said President Buhari ordered the immediate disengagement of Maina from service. He said President Buhari also demanded for the full report on the circumstances of Maina’s recall.
The statement also said President Buhari has also asked the Head of Service, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, to submit a full report of the circumstances of Mr Maina’s recall and posting to the Interior Ministry.
Buhari also ordered that the report be submitted to the office of the Chief of Staff to the President before the close of work today, Monday, Oct 23, 2017.
“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 appointed by former President Goodluck Jonathan as Chairman of the task force in 2010 to check the corruption in the country’s pension system. In 2012, the Nigeria Police accused him of misappropriating N100 billion pension funds in connivance with others.
The Civil Service Commission reportedly dismissed him for “absconding from duty’’. Maina was arraigned in absentia by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which declared him wanted in 2015.
The anti-graft agency, through its spokesman, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, said the former pension task force chairman remains on the commission’s wanted list.
Sunday’s confirmation by the minister followed reports in the online media that Maina had been secretly re-instated and promoted to the rank of director in the ministry.