Fact File: Towards Protecting The Fundamental Rights Of Abdulrasheed Maina In Nigeria

In defense of embattled Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, PRTT, Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina, Executive Secretary of Legislative Watch, Ngozika Ihouma for record’s sake puts forward a body of claims to protect the rights of the latter, in a statement made available to ngg.ng. Find below:

I am compelled by necessity as a civil rights activist to request your intervention in protecting the heretofore abused rights of a patriotic Nigerian, Abdulrasheed Maina, Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT).

Before 2010, the Nigerian State was disturbed by the eminently embarrassing situation of disenfranchised pensioners roaming the streets of Nigerian capital city – Abuja. Most of these pensioners became beggars and had been rendered homeless, surviving on garbage from bins.

That being so, the then President of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Jonathan set up a Technical Committee with the mandate of providing solutions to these pensioners’ plights which had lingered for many decades.
Under the leadership of the then Director General of the National Pension Commission, the Technical Committee went round all pension offices with a view to reviewing their modus operandi and to get solutions to these seemingly intractable pensioners’ problems.
At that particular time, Maina was the Acting Director General of the Customs, Immigration & Prisons Pension Office (CIPPO) – the nation’s paramilitary pension office. It was evident that CIPPO was discharging its responsibility with the lowest budget and the highest number of pensioners. No pensioner under Mania’s CIPPO was denied payment nor underpaid. No pensioner under CIPPO was roaming the streets to beg. CIPPO under Maina utilized information and communication technology to establish a corruption-free pension administrative system.
Hence, the Technical Committee recommended Maina to lead a Task Force that would replicate the successes of his pension office in the rest of the pension offices in Nigeria.
Earlier, when briefing the National Economic Council, Maina stated that pensioners were denied payments in Nigeria not because there were no adequate funds budgeted for it, but due to systemic large-scale corrupt practices shrouded in the secrecy and conspiracy of a sinister pension mafia that includes Senators, Members of the House of Reps, Heads of Service, some Permanent Secretaries, Directors and other administrators.
PENSION REFORM UNDER MAINA
The Pension Reform Task Team was inaugurated by President Jonathan under the leadership of Mr Maina. His appointment was on merit of recommendation by the Technical Committee and based on his meritorious service record as Director General of CIPPO.
President Jonathan charged the Pension Reform Team to solve the problems of pensioners roaming the streets of Abuja.
It is important to note that Maina did not work alone as an individual; he worked with the operatives of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Department of State Security (DSS), Nigeria Police & other paramilitary agencies.
Mania’s Team also worked with the representatives of Attorney General, Accountant General, Auditor General, Public Complaints Commission, the Nigerian Media and Civil Society Organizations.
Mania’s Team utilized the derivative statutory powers of Minister of Finance, security and anti-graft agencies; that implied that the agencies represented in Mania’s Team exclusively executed and handled recoveries, and not Maina as an individual. As such, it could not have been possible for him or his members to access recoveries to steal.

In addition, Maina did not work with any budgetary allocation, parliamentary appropriation, no operational bank account and no expenditure rights, thus, it could not have been possible for him or his Team members to access a dime because he did have the rights of approval for the expenditure of the Pension Reform Team.

• PENSION REFORM TEAM ACHIEVEMENTS UNDER MAINA

Mania’s Team ensured that the Pensioners roaming the streets of Abuja and Lagos were paid all their dues and cleared off the streets. All such Payments were done by and vide approval of Head of Service of the Federation.

*In addition, Mania’s Team fearlessly stopped the annual stealing of over #250 billion under just 2 pension offices.

*Cut-off over 73,000 ghost/fake pensioners from the Pension Payment system, thus saved #4.75 billion MONTHLY, in just one pension office.

*Reduced the Federal pension bill by 70% and institutionalized fiscal discipline.

*Sanitized the national pension administrative system through the introduction of e-pms ICT solutions.

*Maina’s Team presented its score sheet of achievements to the National Economic Team under the leadership GEJ and was commended by all members. This is on record.

*It was Maina who set up the current structure which the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate Operates.

Under GEJ, Maina’s Team recovered #1.6 trillion in both cash and Assts. We implore the Government to direct the Former Leadership of the ICPC and EFCC to produce the assets and cash so that the current Leaderships could produce the comprehensive list for Nigerians and the Government to see and do the needful. Credible information has it that most of the assets have been relooted by some staffers of the Anti-graft Agencies.

In the current PMB administration, Maina alone gave the intelligence that led to the recovery of over #1.3 trillion in few months.

(DSS & ATTORNEY- GENERALS OFFICE TESTIFIED AT THE RECENT SENATE HEARING AFFIRMING THIS FEAT).

With all due respect to all and sundry, I can authoritatively say that this feat is yet to be achieved by the combined work force of ICPC & EFCC since their inauguration as anti corruption agencies in 2000 & 2002.

POINTS OF CONCERN; DEBUNKING ALLEGATIONS AGAINST MAINA

Today, Maina suffers the consequences of insensitivity to integrity & patriotism.
The 7th Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, that openly tolerated corruption in the pension and other areas of Nigerian economy, upon realising that Maina wasn’t ready to play ball, decided to cook up a phantom story and declared through Sen Kabiru Gaya of the Senate State and Local Govt Committee that Dr. Abdulrasheed Maina stole N195 Billion. Maina took the 7th Senate to Court and that was declared null and void.

The same Senator Kabiru Gaya came out in the sun Newspaper of April 2016 and said that the issue of missing N195Bn was a farce, and that the N195Bn is infact intact in the Current PMB Administrations Single Treasury Account at the CBN. Now who will punish the 7th Senator’s for lying against Maina?

 

It is that same Senate that appropriated five billion naira monthly to a Pension office that needed less than one billion naira to pay their pension monthly bill and this had occured repeatedly for decades. The same 7th Senate that accused Maina had been an accomplice to the mindless stealing of pension funds allocated to pension offices; the Senate goes behind the curtain to cream off the excessive allocations. The Pension suspects have also provided evidence on how these funds were being shared between them some former Heads of Services and the Senators, Which is why they are afraid of Maina’s presence lest PMB gets the dossiers.

To date, Maina has achieved a total of five Court judgements in his favour and non of these five Judgements of Federal High Courts were ever appealed nor respected and enforced by the Government. PMB need be informed of this gross disrespect for the rule of Law.

Maina has suffered severe persecution, ranging from an ungrounded declaration of him as wanted, to the placing of his name on a no-fly list, to using security agencies to harass his person and several attempts to assassinate him. He took all the Agencies concerned to Coury and won in all cases.

It is on record that the PMB administration investigated Maina and found him innocent, and that the National Security Adviser (NSA) and Attorney General of Federation (AGF) contacted and requested him to recover funds for government to augment its meagre resources for national development, which he did. So why has this patriotic Nigerian and a performer not been recalled to help the Government move forward?

Media will always be paid by the wealthy to write anything against Maina and ensure that PMB does not work with him, only for fear that he might talk if allowed back into the system.

Further to that, in a recent Channels TV documentary Maina indicated his willingness to yet again help the Buhari Administration recover #3 trillion in 9 months. The evil forces working against Nigeria ensured that President Buhari does not give Maina the chance to do that, instead our President was pushed to go to other Countries to secure yet another huge loan which will take a very long time and hardship on the ordinary masses to repay. Why is this so?

It is also a statement of fact that arising from MAINA’S insistence in 2013-2014, that the two Anti-graft Agencies account for the N1.6trillion which was recovered as a result of his dogged work, a scoped up allegation of N2bn Biometric Enrollment Funds was created by the immediate past Leadership of the EFCC and dangled to the Nigerian public against Maina.

Maina has never been given any funds by any Government agency in his entire period of leadership at the Pension Teams. If there is such funds, then the Nigerian public would like to see the hard evidence to prove that.

But come to think of it, This same biometric enrollment of pensioners which the Head of Service pension office spent N2 bn, fetched the N1.6Trillion, so who is deceiving who? I invite the elite of this Country to critically look into these and such other issues in order that we all help this Administration to move this Country forward.

The DSS described Maina as patriotic and as an asset to Nigeria during the recent parliamentary public hearing.

Why is it that nobody is asking for the necks of those that stole hundreds of billions of pension funds before Maina’s Team came to stop it?

CONCLUSION
Going through the series of events regarding Maina’s case, it is easy to deduce that Nigeria is becoming lawless through the flagrant disobedience of court orders/judgments.

High level of impunity is playing out as anti-corruption agencies are accused of massive stealing and nobody is scrutinizing this worrying trend, not even President Buhari who is renowned for his anti-corruption stance.
These disturbing situations of injustice, unfairness and blatant crime against patriotic Nigerians have compelled me to seek the intervention of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the rational international community to quickly intervene.

PRAYERS
I appeal to President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, International Community Human Rights Activists etc.

1. To intervene in ensuring justice is served on behalf of Maina.

2. To ensure that his whistle-blowing of N1.3tr commission is paid to him.

3. To ensure the enforcement of the five Federal High Court judgements that he secured.

4. To effect the investigation of the immediate past Leadership of the EFCC & ICPC on the N1.6 trillion recovered by Mania’s Team.

Seunmanuel Faleye

Seunmanuel Faleye is a covert writer, and an overt creative head. He is intensely fluid and communicates properly with both his pen and verbally. He is Film and TV content producer by the day, and, a news reporter and storyteller at night. He holds a B.A.(Hons.) in Philosophy from ADEKUNLE AJASIN UNIVERSITY AKUNGBA-AKOKO, ONDO STATE. Asides his numerous investment interests, he plans to own a chocolate factory some day.

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