Femi Falana, Lagos activist lawyer, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently sanction all government officials involved in the reinstatement of the former Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina.
Falana gave the call while noting that the handling of the scandal generated by the recall of Maina had eroded the credibility of the current anti-corruption crusade.
In a statement he issued on Sunday titled, “President Buhari should act with dispatch on Mainagate” Falana said the “time is certainly not on the side of President Buhari”.
The activist lawyer argued that those who recalled Maina, “deliberately set out to subvert the anti-corruption policy of the Buhari administration”.
Falana noted that through such demonstration of official impunity, the officials involved have exposed the country to ridicule before the comity of nations.
“Therefore, the sanctions which the Federal Government will mete out to all the officials who conspired to expose the administration and the nation to such avoidable shame will make or mar the fight against corruption and impunity which is the cornerstone of the domestic and foreign policy thrust of the administration,” he said.
On the claim by Maina’s family that Buhari’s government reinstated the ex-Pension boss, Falana said, “In view of the revelation of the family which has not been denied, it is crystal clear that the highly placed officials of the federal government who brought Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina back to the country, gave him a clean bill of health, provided him with ‘necessary security’, reinstated him, promoted him and paid his arrears of salaries and allowances totalling N22 million deliberately set out to subvert the anti-corruption policy of the Buhari administration.”
Falana described the payment of N22 million to Maina as “the height of insensitivity to pay arrears of salaries to a fugitive at a time when hundreds of thousands of workers and pensioners are owed arrears of their legitimate emoluments.”
He added, “Having found Maina and exonerated him, why was Interpol not informed that he was no longer wanted to stand trial for his role in the unprecedented pension fraud?
“Since Mr. Maina’s “necessary security” provided by the State Security Service has not been withdrawn, why is the federal government requesting the Interpol to declare him wanted again?
“Will Interpol believe that a man who was provided with “necessary security” cannot be found by the federal government? Why is the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission asking Nigerians to assist in searching for the fugitive?”