Reactions are trailing the reinstatement and now disengagement of a former director of the Pension fund, Mr Abdullahi Abdulrasheed Maina.
Mr Maina had been asked to leave his post after it was revealed that he masterminded the diversion of at least 2 billion naira in pension funds during his time at the helm of affairs under the Jonathan administration. Apparently, top forces within the Buhari administration have been working hard since 2015 to return him to his position, culminating in a reinstatement as a Deputy Director last September.
As soon as this became public, there was a predictable backlash, reechoing feelings among some commentators of the skewed nature of the present Government’s war against corruption. Like the WHO’s knee-jerk elevation and demotion of Robert Mugabe as their goodwill ambassador, the PMB administration appears to have yielded to public outrage. But it would be worthwhile to retrace to see the processes and characters that led to the man’s return to the corridors of public office in the first place.
27th April 2017: Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, writes to the Federal Civil Service Commission requesting it to give consequential effect to the judgment that voided the warrant of arrest issued against Maina which formed the basis for his query and dismissal.
14th June 2017: FCSC meets on the AGF’s request
21st June 2017: A week after, the FCSC writes to the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF) asking it to advise the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior to consider the AGF’s letter, Maina’s case and revert to the Commission with a what-to-do.
22nd June 2017: Next day, Senior Staff Committee (SSC) of the Ministry of Interior holds a meeting to consider Maina’s case and AGF’s letter, recommends Maina be reinstated as Deputy Director (SGL 16), as against the request for him to return as Director (SGL 17).
14th August 2017: The SSC forwards its recommendation to the Civil Service Commission.
16th August 2017: Two days after, the Commission meets to consider all they have – AGF’s letter and Ministry of Interior’s SSC recommendation on Maina – and approved the reinstatement with effect from 21st February, 2013, the date of his dismissal from service.
18th September 2017: Federal Civil Service Commission writes the Head of Service notifying of the reinstatement of Maina as Deputy Director (Administration), on Salary Grade Level 16, through a letter signed on behalf of the Commission’s chairman, by Mustapha L. Sulaiman.
28th September 2017: Maina resumes duty at the Ministry of Interior as Deputy Director administration, confirmed by a letter to the OHCSF from the Ministry of Interior, signed by Salihu A. Bala, on behalf of the Permanent Secretary.
23rd October 2017: President Buhari directs the disengagement from service of Abdullahi Abdulrasheed Maina with immediate effect via a Press Release signed by Femi Adesina, and calls for report on circumstance of his reinstatement to be submitted to Chief of Staff Abba Kyari by the close of work same day.
Given the procedures followed in restoring Maina to the service, it is being observed by some commentators that the manner of (second) termination by President Buhari is illegal, going by the rules of the Civil Service. Also, questions are being asked as to whether there will be any consequences for those who played the role of reinstating Mr Maina who, though not yet convicted, has the odds stacked against him with respect to any claim of credibility for public office.
The Office of the Head of Service is already extricating itself from the affair, stating in a press release on 23rd October that it “did not reinstate Maina”.
Who did then?