By AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari, the National Assembly and well meaning Nigerians have been told to reject the attempts to paint former Chairman of defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Dr. Abdulrasheed Maina, black by the real corrupt Nigerians to cover their tracts, because no Nigerian fought corruption like him.
This was expressed in a letter written by the Executive Secretary, Legislative Watch-Nigeria, Honourable Ngozika Ihuoma, to both arms of the National Assembly which our correspondent stumbled across.
“It is important and fair to say that no Nigerian to date has been able to accomplish what Maina had done to the Nigerian Government when it comes to the issue of fighting corruption and helping in the Administration of the social security system in Nigerian.
“He gallantly fought the monstrous demon referred to as corruption in the system and by doing so, stepped on the toes of ‘’important people in the Nigerian Government”.
“This onerous act of heroism and honesty caused him his job, personal security, peace and tranquility. Maina was shot at two times at different times and places, assassins besieged his house and that of his mother in an effort to eliminate him, but the Almighty saved him.
“It is in view of the forgoing brief, that we deemed it necessary to put the records straight and to formally request the esteemed Senate, House of Representatives, well meaning Nigerian’s as well as the well respected International Community to wade in and save this noble Man from being excised out of this world by enemies of international development,” it stated.
The group said that they were compelled by utmost necessity to use every means possible to seek for the truth, and to fight against the continued injustice being meted out to a patriotic Nigerian.
“The former Chairman of defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Dr. Abdulrasheed Maina, who was appointed by the Jonathan Administration to restructure the Nigerian Pension system.
“Maina headed a Task force (Committee) that made giant strides towards fighting corruption in the highest echelon of Government.
“He engineered the sieving and deletion of more than 73,000 ghost/ fake Pensioners from the Nigerian social security system, he was able to recover N1.63 Trillion to the Jonathan Administration and also recovered more than N1.3 Trillion for the current Buhari Administration.
“He stopped the stealing of N3.275BN monthly from the office of the Head of Service pension, he also stopped the daily stealing of N300million from the police pension account with an old generation Bank at Lagos, and brought down the monthly releases from the treasury to the police pension from N1.5bn to N484Million being the actual amount needed per month.
“Maina restructured and automated all these pension offices without a single kobo spent by Government due to his knowledge of software development. The State House and a security Agency of Government were part of the Offices he restructured. These are all on record,” the letter pointed out.
The lengthy letter alleged that those after Maina, “These ‘’BIG PEOPLE’’ occupy important offices in and out of the Nigerian Government.
“Here is a patriotic Nigerian, who studied and worked with the US government, (Road Fund Audit), private corporations as well as family business (farming & services). Maina has Masters degree in Management Information Systems and International Administration and Development from the United States of America.
“He is a recipient of the famous National Black Achievers Award from the United States. This, he received in Lexington KY, in April, 2001. (Please refer to the Lexington Herald of April, 2001).
“The ethics classes he took, armed him with the necessary qualities that helped him instill transparency and probity in the Fight against Corruption which he started during the last Administration.
“Having been engaged in the recovery of funds by the current Buhari Administration, Maina upon realizing that this Government was really out with the right zeal and pursuit, he engineered and led various operational efforts in securing and recovering assets for this Administration between 2016 to January 2018, but instead of being celebrated, the same system he worked gallantly for, is and has been behind his renewed travails. Corrupt media personalities and organizations were given millions by two Heads of Government Organizations and corrupt individuals (on record) just to tarnish his image and create a dummy monster out of this patriotic Nigerian.
” Sometimes one wonder if the fight against corruption is real, because the President is being mislead and we advice that he should correct some of these anomalies before the elections.
“Further to the foregoing, Maina developed the e-pension management system and document management during his team work, which is an essential ingredient for a foolproof restructuring process, and through his hard work and nationalistic venture, and amidst all odds, was able to recover funds and property worth N1.63 Trillion which the EFCC under Ibrahim Lamorde kept and could not account for, even when requested to do so under oath by the National Assembly. Why is he being hunted by the same EFCC which is a part and parcel of the Maina led Task Team?
“His travails with the EFCC leadership started during the Lamorde Administration after he raised questions regarding some unaccounted Properties. we strongly believe that the current EFCC Chairman has not been properly briefed by his staff, who were members of the pension reform process.
“Even though we applaud the current EFCC Administration under CP Magu for his bravery amidst the chaos being orchestrated by the corrupt cartel, we equally urge him to look inwards at some of his staff feeding him with lies, because we have it on record that there were petitions written to the EFCC against some of them for bribery, coercion and intimidation to make some of those pension suspects pay millions, so that their cases could be watered down.
“All these happened during the Lamorde Administration. We are also aware that some of these staffers had to resign quickly so that the new Administration under Mr Magu does not catch up with all they did. It is also that, some of the insider cartel members are still working directly with the Chairman or for the Chairman without his knowledge of their earlier dealings. We shall start to expose these people in the coming months.
“For equity and fairness to prevail, we believe that if there is anyone or any agency that has any question regarding the composition. Workings or anything and everything about the Task Team, such an agency should invite all the members of the Task Team, including its own staff who worked for and with the Task Team, instead of singling out Maina for persecution.
“The issue of unaccountability of the Maina recovered N1.63 Trillion by the Ibrahim Lamorde Administration of the EFCC, was brought forth to the 7th Senate by a registered whistle blower, Mr George Ebor in 2015. Mr Ebor who presented facts upon facts on the missing funds and properties, but instead of the leadership of the 7th Senate to focus on such a serious financial and National embarrassment, it turned a deaf ear and watered that probe down and in spite of the various calls for Lamorde to be probed, the Government went ahead to promote the same Lamorde to the post of Commissioner then post him to lagos to man yet another financial department of the Police.
“On the other hand, Maina who worked with these security organizations and fought to recover these funds and properties, was not only chastised but was disgraced and degraded to the lowest level, then persecuted by the very system he served. The damning consequences of such a path, could mean opening a special can of worms which could lead to serious embarrassment for some individuals and Agencies of Government.
“This we intend to pressure Maina to do if these issues are not fully and urgently addressed. Luckily, we have a President who is a very clean, patriotic world figure who stands firmly for truth and justice
“The Legislative watch who over the years listened to pensioners cries of non payment of their retirement benefits by the Office of the Head of Service, and the Police Pension offices, among others, decided to be secretly embedded with the Maina led Task Force so as to ensure that the Pensioners benefits were paid.
“In doing so, our Organization appointed several whistle blowers to checkmate the workings of the Task Team, and what we saw was dedication and transparency per excellence, with no funds at their disposal. The job of the Team was to certify the authenticity of a person being a pensioner and forward its findings to the office of the Head of Service for payment. So how did the team got in contact with funds?
“Let us for necessary emphasis describe the composition of the Maina led Pension Task Team; The Team had the following organizations as very active members, and nothing was ever done without the input and endorsement of the following bodies; The EFCC, ICPC, NIA, POLICE, ATTORNEY GENERALS OFFICE, ACCOUNTANT GENERALS OFFICE, AUDITOR GENERALS OFFICE, THE PUBLIC COMPLAINTS COMMISSION, OFFICE OF THE HEAD OF SERVICE, CIPPO, IMMIGRATION CUSTOMS, PRISONS SERVICE MINISTRY OF INTERIOR AND OTHER SUCH AFFILIATED BODIES.
“The question remains; Why is it that non of the members of the Team from all the aforementioned agencies, nor any of the Organizations mentioned above, was ever invited by anyone nor has any of these officers lost their jobs or were persecuted. This is the highest form of injustice and persecution that the Legislative Watch has ever heard of in this world.
“The worst part is that, it has continued under the leadership of a patriotic African who has come to rescue the Nigerian State from plummeting. We feel that this honest President has never been properly briefed about the truth behind the Maina saga. Some of the civic society groups have made it a point to tell the whole world the damning truth behind this continued injustice and persecution, we also intend to take this to other National stake holders for information purposes.
“What has been on the lips of honest Nigerians is (WHY HAS PRESIDENT BUHARI TURNED DEAF EARS TO THIS IMPORTANT NATIONAL ISSUE)? Here is a single individual who recovered more than N1. 3 Trillion including but not limited to embarking on other risky operations for this same Administration under the Government of our amiable president; Muhammad Buhari, but instead of Maina being celebrated and given an assignment towards helping the Government in the renewed fight against corruption, this innocent man has been subjected to all sorts of physical and mental harassment.
“We are aware that he has been painted black and presented as a monster to the president, but those who did so have forgotten that the Almighty is watching and every inch of wrong or right shall be accounted for.
“We also are not unaware of the fact that Abdulrasheed is being which-hunted and persecuted mainly because of his immense knowledge of information Technology, and with his experience in world financial traffic matters, means he could fish our funds from anywhere in the world. So the problem is that, ‘’HE KNOWS TOO MUCH OF THE ROTTEN SYSTEM IN NIGERIA’’, thus, leaving him peaceful at his office at the Interior Ministry, could spell doom for those who stole and moved funds, or those STILL helping themselves with funds from various sectors of the treasury.
“It is worthy to note that the Pension Team under the leadership of this patriotic Nigerian, introduced Smart cards so that pensioners don’t have to travel long distances each quarter to be verified, which often results in the untimely death of many old pensioners.
“That also saves Government more than N15.9 billion annually spent by pension offices on verification exercises. Maina’s Team did the assignment without any appropriation from the National Assembly, with no expenditure rights and no budget or Pension Task Team operational bank accounts. So How is it possible to steal N195Billion that never existed.
“With all due respect, we are aware that the same Senator Kabiru Gaya of the 7th Senate who in 2012/2013 accused Maina of stealing a phantom non existent N195BILLION, has come out in an exclusive interview with the Sun newspaper of 2016, to explain to Nigerians that the N195BILLION in question was never stolen and that these funds are intact at the central Bank under the Single Treasury Account of the Federal Government.
“This, we applaud the efforts of the distinguished Senator (Kabiru Gaya). who is honest enough to clear his conscience and give Nigerians the answer to the lingering questions behind the phantom N195 billion. Such people are called leaders,” it stated.
The group said that in the light of the above, they dare to tell Nigerians that they have seen available and verifiable evidence to show how the pension funds ore and post Maina were being shared among some government officials, politicians and offices.
“We have also seen evidences regarding government funds which the Government is not aware of and can never be traced without a foolproof platform.
“I Honourable Ngozika Ihouma do swear that all the summarized information contained in this letter and the attached documents are true and factual. I and my Colleaque’s are ready to testify if any commission or body is set up to clear this issue once and for all. We seriously bleed for our dear country. Nigerians should give President Buhari the honest helping hands he need to steer the ship of the state to the promised land of equity and fairness. Honest reports should be given to him devoid of personal interests.
“The pension mafia in Government, illegally sacked Maina from the Civil Service in just one day in 2013, without following due process or fair hearing, and refused to obey court judgments in Maina’s favor.
“Hence, Maina once again headed to the Court, as a result, and after immense pressure from his lawyers on the Minister of Justice regarding the Court order, the Federal civil service Commission was requested to study the court order towards revisiting the case. After several meetings among the various bodies, I.e The civil service commission, the Head of Service office and the Senior staff committee of the Ministry of interior, approvals were given by all these bodies and a letter of reinstatement was issued to him by the Federal Civil Service Commission.
“Barely 30 days after his resumption of duty at the interior ministry, the cartel struck again, this time by using a well known corrupt media organization that exists only on the web, monies exchanged hands, their Co-horts close to the president and also some editors of both the print and electronic media also joined in to put pressure on the President into making a wrong statement regarding disengaging MAINA.
“This statement is not only illegal, but also against all laid down rules and regulations, thus reneging the law. He unknowingly gave a nod to a scheme against his ideals, and succumbed to the corrupt media and corrupt political and official officers surrounding him, to declare that he has disengaged Maina.
“The President, with all due respect, could only cause a civil servant to be disengaged after following various laid down rules and regulations and by doing that, the Federal Civil Service Commission being a statutory Government body, must follow the same rules of engagement as in reinstating him to be able to come out with any reason to effect that change, which of course could be a subject of litigation.
“Most of these people who have the presidents ears, are looters of the treasury. They often block the President from having a true picture of situations.
“What many Nigerian’s do not know is the fact that a court order was issued that has consequential order to return Maina back into the Federal Civil Service.
“The Government MDA’S charged with effecting the Court order, followed all laid down rules and regulations as spelt out by the Civil Service rules to effect the reinstatement.
“The Federal Civil Service Commission, the Senior Staff Committee of the Ministry of Interior and Head of Service all participated in the process of reinstating Maina back into the Service., so why the media frenzy?, this is the outcome of fear for Maina’s presence.
“Maina has on several occasions requested President Muhammadu Buhari to commission a neutral and unbiased Committee of Inquiry to investigate this case, but two years down the line and with elections on the way, he is yet to give his approval for the concerned bodies to deal with this very important lingering issue among others. His teeming supporters are watching and waiting.
“We wish to thank the teeming and honest Nigerians especially the Labour, students and women associations and NGO’S both National and International, who have continued to give Maina the moral, support and encouragement to continue with his fight. We thank you and hope for a better Nigeria devoid of discrimination and persecution for all Nigerians. ALUTA CONTINUA,” it concluded.
The Legislative Watch is a Non Governmental, Non for profit, Civic society Organization that is concerned with human rights abuses, human trafficking and injustice among others.