By Ismaila Chafe
A presidential spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu has described Abdulrasheed Maina as “one of the monsters’’ and mess left behind by the previous administration to frustrate the ongoing fight against corruption by the current government.
Shehu, who is the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, stated this in a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday.
He, therefore, maintained that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had no moral right to level any accusations against the President Buhari administration with respect to Maina, the embattled former head of the presidential team on pension reforms.
He emphasised that Maina was “one of the monsters created by the former PDP government, and which are still rearing their ugly heads long after the Party was soundly defeated in the 2015 elections.
“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 noted that Maina was not the only member of the former government involved in the multibillion naira pensions scandal, but a man warmly ensconced in the bosom of power.
He said: “Top officials in the PDP government, from sectoral heads, to those charged with 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.”
The SSA hinted that some influential officials loyal to the previous government might have been the invisible hand in the latest scandal that saw the return of Maina to the public service, despite being on the EFCC’s wanted list.
He, however, assured Nigerians that President Buhari 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 added.
The PDP, on Monday, had called for immediate arrest and prosecution of Abdulrasheed Maina, a former Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, wanted for alleged fraud.
The party made the call in a statement by National Publicity Secretary of its National Caretaker Committee, Mr Dayo Adeyeye.
The party called for the arrest and prosecution of those who aided the return of Maina to the country after his disappearance for several years, and his restoration to his duty post with added promotion.
The party also called for immediate sack of the Minister of Interior, Gen. Abdulrahman Danbazzau (rtd) and Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, for restoring Maina to office against good conscience.
President Buhari, had earlier on same day, in a memo to the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, directed the immediate disengagement from service of Maina, former chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms.
The President equally demanded a full report of the circumstances of Maina’s recall and posting to the Ministry of Interior, saying the report must be submitted to the office of the Chief of Staff to the President, before the end of work same day.
Oyo-Ita, on same day, submitted the report to the office of the Chief of Staff as demanded by the President.