Femi Falana

Lagos lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) has advised President Muhammadu Buhari quickly take action against all officials involved in the controversial recall of the former Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina.

He said in a statement issued on Sunday titled, “President Buhari should act with dispatch on Mainagate” that “time is certainly not on the side of President Buhari”.

Although the federal government has promised not to sweep the Mainagate under the carpet, Falana contended that the handling of the scandal generated by the recall of Maina has eroded the credibility of the anti-corruption crusade of the Buhari administration.

“Therefore, the sanctions which the Federal Government will mete out to all the officials who conspired to expose the administration and the nation to such avoidable shame will make or mar the fight against corruption and impunity which is the cornerstone of the domestic and foreign policy thrust of the administration.”

Falana’s advice was sequel to a statement credited to the family of Abdulrasheed Maina, accusing Buhari administration of official betrayal.

He recalled that at a press conference in Kaduna two weeks ago, the spokesman for the Abdulrasheed Maina’s family, Mr. Aliyu Maina, had stated that “Abdulrasheed was in fact invited by this administration and he was promised security to come and clean up the mess and generate more revenue to the government by blocking leakages.”

“ He has been working with the DSS for quite some time and he was given necessary security. So, one wonders why all the agencies and various individuals responsible for his return are now denying, ” Maina’s spokesman stated.

In his reaction to the development, Falana contended that those who recalled Maina, “deliberately set out to subvert the anti-corruption policy of the Buhari administration”.

He argued that through such demonstration of official impunity, the officials involved have exposed the country to ridicule before the comity of nations.

“In view of the revelation of the family which has not been denied, it is crystal clear that the highly placed officials of the federal government who brought Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina back to the country, gave him a clean bill of health, provided him with “necessary security”, reinstated him, promoted him and paid his arrears of salaries and allowances totalling N22 million deliberately set out to subvert the anti-corruption policy of the Buhari administration,” he said.

Falana described the payment of N22 million to Maina as “the height of insensitivity to pay arrears of salaries to a fugitive at a time when hundreds of thousands of workers and pensioners are owed arrears of their legitimate emoluments”.

“Having found Maina and exonerated him, why was Interpol not informed that he was no longer wanted to stand trial for his role in the unprecedented pension fraud? “, he asked.

He further asked: “Since Mr. Maina’s “necessary security” provided by the State Security Service has not been withdrawn, why is the federal government requesting the Interpol to declare him wanted again?

“Will Interpol believe that a man who was provided with “necessary security” cannot be found by the federal government? Why is the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission asking Nigerians to assist in searching for the fugitive?”

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