How did wanted civil servant Abdulrasheed Maina sneak into Nigeria? Who gave him the police and other security personnel he had?
These are some of the questions in government and security circles, following the scandal sparked by Maina’s reinstatement and promotion.
The dismissed chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms Task Team has been in the country in the last six months after sneaking in. He is wanted for alleged N2b pension funds fraud.
His police and other security personnel have been withdrawn.
More queries were said to have been issued yesterday to all those implicated in Maina’s reinstatement.
According to a source, who spoke in confidence with our correspondent, Maina was “smuggled into the country from Dubai (UAE) by some powerful forces”.
The source said a review of the suspect’s itinerary indicated that he had been under “Special Protection” in the last six months.
The source said: “It is still a puzzle to the government on how a suspect, who was watch-listed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and placed on Red Alert by the INTERPOL, beat security system to return to the country from Dubai.
“Relevant agencies are probing clues on how Maina had stayed in the country unnoticed in the last six months with police details and some security attaches.
“What happened was a breach of the nation’s security, a slap on inter-agency cooperation, and a pointer to some compromise.”
The source, who pleaded not to be named, listed the puzzles:
From which point of entry did Maina enter Nigeria?
Who authorised police details for Maina?
When and how did he apply for police details?
Which agency provided security personnel for the dismissed deputy director?
Who put Maina in a safe house before his resumption?
Responding to a question, the source added: “President Muhammadu Buhari is really angry by the turn of things; he is not taking the issue lightly. He was so furious that he wanted to clean up the system on Monday but he decided to give all those implicated the benefit of the doubt.
“This is why you can see everyone in a panic mood. No one knows the mindset of the President. We are all in suspense.”
As at press time, there were indications that Maina had been stripped of his police and security details. Besides, his whereabouts remain unknown. It was not immediately clear who ordered the withdrawal of the police and other security personnel.
But fresh facts emerged yesterday that more queries had been issued to all public officers and institutions connected with the reinstatement of Maina.
A government official, who pleaded for anonymity spoke of how more officials and agencies had been directed to explain their roles in the “deal” which led to Maina’s recall.
“The Presidency is digging deeper on this issue. I am sure all those complicit will pay for it,” the source said.
A letter from the Ministry of Interior indicated that Maina resumed duty on September 28 but his resumption was not communicated to the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation till October 16.
The letter, which was signed by Deputy Director(Permanent Secretary’s Office), Salihu A. Bala for the Permanent Secretary, said: “I am directed to acknowledged(sic) the receipt of your letter Ref. No. 4029.82/Vol. III/ 179 of 18th September, 2017 on the above subject and inform you that the reinstated officer, Abdulrasheed Abdullahi Maina, Deputy Director(Administration) has resumed duty at the Ministry of Interior on Thursday, 28th September 2017. Please, accept the assurances of the Permanent Secretary’s warm regards.”
The presidency has directed all the key actors and agencies implicated in Maina’s recall to stop passing the buck.
The directive affects all the ministers “implicated”, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, government officials and agencies.
“No one is allowed to either issue a statement or talk officially to the press until the investigation is concluded,” a source said.