The fugitive former pension boss, Abdulrasheed Maina, has congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari on his re-election.
Mr Maina, who has been on the run for years, said he would continue to give Mr Buhari’s administration “necessary support.”
“On behalf of myself and my family, I wish to congratulate President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo on their victory in the just concluded 2019 historic Presidential election.
“This goes a long way to show the unalloyed support and trust that the generality of Nigerians have on your persons and administration.
“We shall continue to give you and your administration the necessary support while you continue making Nigeria great again and taking us to the next level,” the advert reads.
On the run
Mr Maina was in 2012 accused of leading a massive pension fraud scheme amounting to more than N100 billion. Ironically, he was drafted by the then Goodluck Jonathan administration in 2010 to sanitise a corrupt pension system.
The Senate Joint Committee on Public Service and Establishment and State and Local Government Administration, which investigated the allegations, indicted Mr Maina and issued a warrant of arrest against Mr Maina.
Mr Maina sued the Senate and the then Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, and thereafter went into hiding after being declared wanted by the police.
He was dismissed from the civil service for allegedly absconding from duty and attempting to evade arrest and charged to court.
He was on July 21, 2015 charged by the EFCC, alongside former head of service Stephen Oronsaye and two others with fraud. While Mr Oronsaye and the two other accused were in court and pleaded not guilty to the charge, Mr. Maina remained at large.
Since absconding, nothing was heard of Mr Maina until shortly after the emergence of President Buhari in 2015 when members of his defunct Presidential Task Team on Pension Reforms offered to work with the then incoming administration.
The team, which addressed a press conference in Abuja, said its work would be easier under Mr Buhari, known for his anti-corruption stand.
PREMIUM TIMES found in October 2017 that the new government had secretly reinstated and promoted Mr Maina.
Amid natiowide outrage, President Buhari ordered immediate sack of Mr Maina.
It later became clear Mr Maina was reinstated with the knowledge of the minister of interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, and minister of justice, Abubakar Malami. The head of service, Winifred Oyo-Ita, said the decision was taken without her approval.
Mrs Oyo-Ita in a leaked memo to the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, said she warned Mr Buhari against the reinstatement.
Mr Maina himself said his reinstatement was ordered by President Buhari.
In October 2017, PREMIUM TIMES reported how Mr Maina was being provided guards by the State Security Service (SSS). This newspaper learnt that a safe house in Maitama, allegedly belonging to the SSS, was also provided for his use.
This paper also found out that Mr Maina’s controversial $2 million house in Jabi, Abuja, was guarded by the police. However, the SSS did not react to the publication.
The role of the SSS in bringing back Mr Maina was confirmed by a representative of his family, Aliyu Maina, who told journalists few days later that the fugitive was working with the SSS, also known as DSS.
Despite declaring him wanted and securing an arrest warrant against the former pension boss, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has failed to track him down for about one and half years ago.
Friday’s advert featured photographs of both Mr Buhari and Mr Maina. It was signed by the fugitive ex-civil servant on behalf of himself and family.
It appeared on a page of Leadership newspaper of Thursday February 28.