The Presidency Wednesday denied the claims by Abdulrasheed Maina’s family that the present administration invited the former pension boss back to the country to join “the change agenda.”
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, urged Nigerians to ignore the family who made the allegation he described as ridiculous.
Maina’s family had claimed at a news conference in Kaduna that the Buhari government invited Maina to work with it only to be frustrated by an unnamed cabal, who is rattled by Maina’s honesty and transparency.
The spokesperson of the family, Aliyu Maina, said the controversy surrounding the fugitive is the handiwork of ‘cabals’ bent on tarnishing the image of the family.
He said the President Muhammadu Buhari administration facilitated the return of MMaina to Nigeria so as to assist in its change agenda.
He did not however name those in the cabal.
They however boasted that Maina had enough dossier on the cabal and would soon release his bromide on them for Nigerians to know the roles each of them played.
“You must have noticed the recent attempt by some cabals to ridicule and tarnish the image of the Maina family in the media.
“Where our brother, father, and uncle has been blackmailed as a fraudster. The cabals have gone to the extent of marking our houses with red paints with the inscription of ‘EFCC under investigation’.
“The entire family of Abdullahi Maina is hereby categorically stating that our son is not in any way a fraudster, rather, he is a messiah who brought remarkable reforms into the Nigerian Pension Scheme, whose efforts saw the disappearance of pensioners roaming the streets of the FCT and other states.
“It is on record that Abdulrasheed Maina’s reforms put a stop to the fraudulent withdrawal of huge sums from both the Nigerian Pension Board and the Nigerian Police Pension Board,” Aliyu said.
However, Shehu denied that the present administration recalled Maina.
He said: “The claim that the Buhari administration invited the wanted Abdulrasheed Maina back into the country is a freshly minted falsehood. Nobody should believe that.
“The family that made that claim simply wanted to be ridiculous. Please ignore them,” the presidential spokesman said.
In another statement, Shehu accused loyalists to former President Goodluck Jonathan, who are still in the present administration to be responsible for the controversial reinstatement of the former Chairman of Presidential Taskforce on Pension Reforms.
Shehu said that the opposition Peoples Democratic Party lacks the moral right to attack the personality of President Muhammadu Buhari in the controversy surrounding Maina’s recall.
Shehu in the statement described Maina as one of the monsters created by the PDP government, which is still rearing its ugly heads long after the party was soundly defeated in the 2015 elections.
Shehu said: “Over and over again, the President Buhari government has pointed out that the administration’s greatest problem is the mess left behind by the previous government. Maina is just one more example.”
Referring to document from the investigations that led to the sack of the former pension boss and his being declared wanted by the EFCC, Malam Shehu noted that Maina was not the only top member of the former government involved in the multi-billion naira pensions scandal, but a man warmly ensconced in the bosom of power.
He said: “Top officials in the PDP government, from sectoral heads, to those charged with responsibility for law and order received some of these billions of naira from Maina.
“We have all the transaction records and these are matters that the EFCC has been pursuing to ensure that they all have their day in court.”
Malam Shehu hinted that some influential officials loyal to the previous government might have been the invisible hand in the latest scandal that saw the return of Maina to the public service despite being on the EFCC’s wanted list.
He, however, assured Nigerians that President Buhari was determined to get to the bottom of the matter of the impunity that led to Maina’s reinstatement.
“Everything will be uncovered in due course. This just goes to show us the scale of corruption that this government is fighting. And, as we can all see, corruption keeps fighting back viciously,” he stated.