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26 Oct 2017

Jonathan, PDP Loyalists Behind Maina's Secret Recall - Buhari's Spokesman, Garba Shehu

The Office of the Presidency have condemned the Goodluck Jonathan-led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administration for criticizing President Muhammadu Buhari over the Abdulrasheed Maina scandal.
Buhari's SSA, Garba Shehu
The Presidency on Wednesday, added a new twist to the controversy over the reinstatement of the former Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina, alleging that influential officials of the defunct Jonathan-led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government might be behind his secret return to the country.

The presidency in a statement by Malam Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, said the PDP lacked the moral right to accuse the federal government of any misdemeanour over the return of the alleged pension thief, describing Maina as one of the monsters created by its government.

“Over and over again, the President Buhari government has pointed out that the administration’s greatest problem is the mess left behind by the previous government. Maina is just one more example,” Shehu said.

Shehu spoke just as the Department of State Security (DSS) kept mum over Maina’s family claim that it knew about the surreptitious return of the former pension reforms’ boss who fled the country in 2013 after he was accused of N200 billion fraud at his former duty post.

Besides, the embattled Maina’s family insisted that he returned to the country on the invitation of the Buhari administration.

Shehu, however, said records from investigations, which led to the disgrace of the former pension boss and the eventual decision of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to declare him wanted showed the involvement of a top member of the former PDP government in the multi-billion naira pension’s scandal who was “warmly ensconced in the bosom of power.”

He added: “Top officials in the PDP government, from sectoral heads to those charged with the responsibility for law and order received some of these billions of naira from Maina.

“We have all the transaction records and these are matters that the EFCC has been pursuing to ensure that they all have their day in court.”

However, he said the president was determined to get to the bottom of the matter of the impunity that led to Maina’s reinstatement.

“Everything will be uncovered in due course. This just goes to show us the scale of corruption that this government is fighting. And, as we can all see, corruption keeps fighting back viciously,” he stated.

But at a press conference in Kaduna on wednesday, the family of Maina rose in his defence, saying he was a victim of power play and blackmail by those he had exposed as pension thieves.

Saying Maina was not a fraudster, the family’s spokesman, Aliyu Maina, accused a “cabal” of blackmailing their son and using the EFCC to seal off their property.

“The entire family of Abdullahi Maina is hereby categorically stating that our son is not in any way a fraudster, rather he is a messiah who brought remarkable reforms into the Nigerian Pension Scheme, whose efforts saw the disappearance of pensioners roaming the streets of FCT Abuja and other state capitals,” he said.

Aliyu stated that it was the Buhari administration that asked Maina to return, adding that the DSS had provided him cover.

He said: “Abdulrasheed (Maina) was in fact invited by this administration and he was promised security to come and clean up the mess and generate more revenue to the government by blocking leakages.

“He succumbed to the present administration and came back to Nigeria. He has been working with the DSS for quite some time and he was given necessary security.”

Meanwhile, former President Goodluck Jonathan wednesday reacted to attempts to link him to the return of Maina, saying the fact that efforts were being made to link him to the return and reinstatement of the former pension boss underscored how “uncoordinated and rudderless” the Buhari administration had become.

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