A group, the Coalition of Civil Society Groups for Transparency and Good Governance, a civil society organisation, has called on Nigeria’s President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, to on assumption of office, revisit the case of alleged diversion of over One Hundred Billion Naira pension funds belonging to Nigerian pensioners.
The President of the group, Comrade Ali Abacha, who stated this in a press briefing in Abuja on Tuesday said that revisiting the case was necessary in order to assuage the feelings of the hapless pensioners, many of whom had died as a result of the hardships they faced.
The group, therefore, called on the incoming administration and relevant security agencies to revisit the prosecution of the former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Alhaji Abdulrasheed Maina, who was discharged and acquitted by an Abuja Federal High Court over the alleged crime.
The court also ordered that Maina, who had declined to honour the Senate’s invitation to clear the air on the allegation, be reinstated into office after he had been sacked from the office.
It said the trial of Maina and his alleged accomplices was a miscarriage of justice, especially when viewed against the fact that the Senate Joint Committee on Investigation of Pensions Payment, Administration and Management, chaired by Senator Aloysius Etuk, had “genuinely found Maina guilty” of pension theft.
“Senator Etuk’s Senate Joint Committee on Pension Investigation genuinely found Alhaji Abdulrasheed Maina wanted with undeniable proofs, recommended and caused the disbandment of the defunct Pension Task Team, and it’s former Chairman, Maina, consequently sacked from the public service.”
“We once again call on the incoming administration and relevant security agencies to revisit the prosecution of Alhaji Abdulrasheed Maina.
“This will serve as a deterrent to other members of the society who may have been indoctrinated by Maina’s sacrilegious and unpatriotic attitude on the said pension fund payment and management. The society is watching”, Abacha said.
It would be recalled that the Senate committee probing Pension Funds Management under Maina had accused him of mopping up pension funds from banks and depositing same in his chosen banks.
It alleged that Maina, an Assistant Director, turned his assignment into a conduit pipe, and was making brisk business in the process, while turning round to claim that he had recovered billions of Naira from thieves.
The Senate Committee said it discovered that it was the mopping of funds from designated banks across the country by Maina that had made it impossible to pay thousands of pensioners across the country for months.
However, when he was summoned to appear and clear the air on the committee’s findings, Maina instead instituted a N1.5 billion case against the Senate and the Police Inspector General.
The Police had declared Maina wanted following a warrant of arrest issued by the Senate President, David Mark, when he refused to appear before the Senate for the investigation.