Abdulrasheed Maina
Abdulrasheed Maina

Still, In Defense of Abdulrasheed Maina, By Olatunde Rahman

NEWS DIGEST – For many persons who know former pension boss, Abdulrasheed Maina, the character trait they will readily attribute to him is courage. He ensured that Nigerian pensioners are not robbed of their entitlements.

Nevertheless, for obvious reasons Maina has been wrongly accused of monumental corruption which no one has provided any concrete evidence to nail him.

It will be recalled that his travails started when he called the bluff of the seventh Senate led by Senator David Mark when he insisted that the Senate was aiding and abetting pension thieves and vowed that as the head of the Presidential Pension Task force Reform team, he would challenge the anomaly.

His bluntness compelled the senate leadership to accuse him of fraud running into billions of Naira and they ridiculed him in the eyes of the public through media trial.

Afterwards, Maina was summarily dismissed from the public service after surviving an assassination attempt and series of blackmail without due process of civil service rule.

During his tenure, the pension task team saved the country about N282 billion and was ready to expose several top figures who stashed funds in foreign accounts, funds meant for pensioners. Many of the prominent public office holders fought tooth and nail to stop this from happening.

In view of the illegality of his dismissal from service, Maina approached the Federal High Court, Abuja in suit Number FHC/ABJ/CS/65/13, dated 27th April, 2013 seeking for justice.

Justice A. Bello of the Federal High Court ordered for his reinstatement into the civil service, but instead of the reinstatement it was a continual wicked blackmail orchestrated against him.

He has so far written a letter Dr. Bukola Saraki-led Senate were he pointed out that efforts of the team led to the recovery and saved cash and properties worth over N1.6 trillion and the arrest and prosecution of 46 persons/firms involved in looting of pension funds by the EFCC. The question now is, why is no one talking about these achievements, but only hell bent on nailing him?

It is noteworthy that the Association of Federal Public Service Retirees in 2014 called on President Goodluck Jonathan to immediately reactivate the Pension Reform Task Team led by Abdulrasheed Maina, to manage their affairs. Chairman of the group, Chief Emmanuel Omoyeni, made the call. If a notable body like this could stand in defense of the erstwhile pension boss even when many people have already painted him bad all over the media, then, it speaks volume of his sterling integrity.

There were over 142, 000 pensioners’ files the Maina task team produced and converted into electronic filing system, which has gone on to help pensioners even further.

Electronic Pension Management System developed by the PRTT, a platform through which pension funds can be monitored by various anti-corruption agencies and security agencies was not allowed completion. Who is scared of its completion? This, obviously, and many more remains part of why they don’t want Maina in the circulation. Imagine if we can easily monitor the pension funds, many persons would be caught in their act of making lives uncomfortable for men/women who have used all their lives to serve Nigeria and deserve their own rest.

When President Muhammadu Buhari came into power, this same man showed sincere concern about lack of funds to run the government, with his expertise he met with the National Security Adviser (NSA)  and other top official where he offered to help the government in its bid to source money so that Nigerians can get the dividends of democracy. Will a selfish man and a bad man as he is being painted do such?

His reinstatement to the civil service was met with strong media fightback by those who do not want him to expose their deeds. We forget so soon that the reinstatement came in as a result of court rulings and letters sent through the office of the Attorney General of the federation in a standard protocol.

We also forget so soon that the federal high court awarded two million Naira in damages to Maina, in respect of the violation of his fundamental human rights.

We forget so fast that he recouped over N1.3 trillion for the Nigerian Government, and when corruption fought against him, he was open to several attacks. There is no doubt that he paid the sacrifice for a saner system but should he be crucified?

Like Maina dared to make a difference, many Nigerians are scared of treading the path of honour, because they do not want to be caught in the web of blackmail, witch-hunt and abuse.

I call on the federal government and the Nigerian stakeholders to stand and fight for Maina. We need men like him if Nigeria really needs to get better.

It’s unfortunate that favourable judgement they couldn’t get from the court the enemies have resort to media trial for blackmail and destruction of people reputation.

I also call on President Muhammadu Buhari to ignore purveyors of malicious information, and ensure that his corruption fight gets a boost with a fearless man like Abdulrasheed Maina.

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Olatunde Rahman writes From Abuja