Update: Jonathan fires Maina, but silent on pension boss’ prosecution

Mr. Maina is still wanted by the Nigerian Police.

President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday removed embattled former head of the presidential task force on pension reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina; nearly a month after a senate’s resolution urged the president to act.

The Senate had asked the president to fire Mr. Maina and order his prosecution for his alleged role in a N195 billion pension fraud. The lawmakers also accused Mr. Maina, an assistant director in the ministry of interior, of snubbing its repeated summons.

In a statement on Friday, the Customs, Immigration and Prison Pension Office, CIPPO, said Mr. Maina was removed as the Director of CIPPO.

Mr. Maina, who headed the office, will be replaced by Olabisi Jaji, while Elizabeth Zenetimi, will serve as the deputy director. The directive took effect March 4, the statement said.

Mrs. Jaji was the Director, Planning, Research and Statistics in the Federal Ministry of Environment, while Mrs. Zenetimi, worked as a former Deputy Director in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.

The president had earlier ordered the Head of Civil Service of the federation, Isa Sali, to sanction Mr. Maina.

Friday’s decision closed one chapter of a controversy that raged for months between the senate and Mr. Maina. But the government has yet to respond to the call for Mr. Maina’s prosecution.

The former assistant director has been at the centre of an investigation by the Senate into abuses in pension administration, with allegations linking him to the multibillion fraud.

The controversy peaked about a month ago with a unanimous Senate resolution asking the president to sack, and order the prosecution of Mr. Maina.

The Senate warned of a response if the president refused to act.

An arrest warrant issued by the senate on Mr. Maina, has yet to be executed by the police after weeks. Police authorities claim they have not located Mr. Maina.

In his brief to the president, the police IG, Mohammed Abubakar, said after receiving the Senate’s warrant that he had “constituted a team of detectives under the leadership of a Deputy Inspector-General of Police” to effect the arrest.

“The Inspector-General said that the police has since mounted surveillance at Alhaji Maina’s home and Office but has been unable to arrest him because he has gone into hiding and stayed away from both locations since the warrant was issued, leading to his publicly being declared wanted by the Police,” a presidency statement said.

Police added that “intensive search” operations were still ongoing. Weeks on, the pension boss remains at large.


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