By Ismaila Chafe
The Presidency says the claim that the Buhari administration invited the wanted Abdulrasheed Maina back into the country is a `freshly minted falsehood’, and should be discarded by well meaning citizens.
Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, in a two-paragraph statement issued on Wednesday night in Abuja, dismissed the claim as ridiculous.
The statement read: “The claim that the Buhari administration invited the wanted Abdulrasheed Maina back into country is a freshly minted falsehood. Nobody should believe that.
“The family that made that claim simply wanted to be ridiculous. Please ignore them.’’
In a report by Daily Trust, two brothers of the fugitive Maina threatened to expose the cabal at the presidency who they alleged are responsible for the ordeal Maina is going through over his return to the civil service.
Addressing the media Wednesday in Kaduna, spokesman of the Maina family, Malam Aliyu Maina, who was flanked by Salihu Maina and Ladan Abdullahi, said the family was worried that the image of the entire family has been tarnished following the sealing of properties belonging to the Maina by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and promised to take legal action on it.
They said that Abdulrasheed left Nigeria following threats to his life. They claimed he was invited by some unidentified officials of the Buhari administration to come and serve.
“You must have noticed the recent attempt by some cabal to ridicule and tarnish the image of the Maina family in the media. Where our brother, Abdulrasheed Maina has been blackmailed as a fraudster.
“The cabals have gone to the extent of marking our house in red paints with an inscription of E.F.C.C under investigation. The EFCC is wrong in their action because Abdulrasheed inherited so many properties from his late father in Kaduna and Abuja, some of them were built before he was born so how could he have acquired them fraudulently.
“The entire family of Abdullahi Maina is categorically stating that our son is not in any way a fraudster, rather he is a messiah who brought reforms into Nigerian Pension Scheme, whose effort saw the disappearance of pensioners roaming the streets of Abuja and other state capital in Nigeria.
“It is on record that Abdulrasheed Maina’s reform put to a stop the fraudulent withdrawals of huge sums from both the Nigerian Pension Board, the Nigerian Police Pension Board etc. Perhaps it is this noble efforts that made him enviable to the present administration when they came into power to convince him to comeback and assist in its “Change” agenda.”
According to the family, the recent actions may have been targeted at not Maina but high above, “we are aware that all this act of calumny is not targeted against Abdulrasheed Maina alone but against the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria and the office of the Attorney General. We have contacted our lawyers Messr Mamma Nasir & Co and instructed them to act appropriately.
“We equally know that Abdulrasheed Maina is in possession of many facts that is against the cabal and interesting to the Nigerian populace, which he will disclose very soon,” the family noted.
The presidential aide, had also on Tuesday, issued a disclaimer on a group-photograph of President Buhari, Senate President Bukola Saraki and a member of the House of Representatives, Ado Doguwa, being circulated in the social media in which Doguwa, was mistaken to be Abdulrasheed Maina.
Shehu said: “There is a photograph all over the Social Media of President Muhammadu Buhari, Senate President Bukola Saraki and Hon. Ado Garba Doguwa Alhassan being mistaken to be the embattled ex-chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina.
“Doguwa is the Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, representing Doguwa/Tudun Wada Federal Constituency of Kano State.
“Doguwa represented the Speaker of the House of Representatives at the special Jummat prayers to mark the nation’s 57th year anniversary at the Presidential Villa weeks ago.
“The Speaker could not attend the event because he is a Christian. Please be guided!’’
Maina was appointed by former President Goodluck Jonathan as Chairman of the task force in 2010 to check the corruption in the country’s pension system.
In 2012, the Nigeria Police accused him of misappropriating N100 billion pension funds in connivance with others.
The Civil Service Commission reportedly dismissed him for “absconding from duty’’.
Maina was arraigned in absentia by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which declared him wanted in 2015.
Mr Wilson Uwujaren, the spokesman of the anti-graft agency in a statement recently, said Maina remained on the commission’s wanted list.