The Federal Government has finally yielded to pressure from the National Assembly and has sacked the controversial chairman of the Pensions Reform Task Team, PRTT, Abdulrasheed Maina from the Federal Civil Service after he refused to appear before the lawmakers despite numerous invitations.
It was discovered that the Federal Government may have quietly dismissed Maina from service shortly after its dissolution of the PRTT as a face-saving measure, lest it is seen as bowing to the National Assembly.
Both chambers of the legislature had unanimously voted for the dismissal of Maina, an Assistant Director in the Customs, Immigration and Prisons Pensions Office, CIPPO, who was appointed to run the PRTT for 30 months only to be overwhelmed by scandals involving pension funds mismanagement running into billions of Naira.
Despite the claim of the Head of Service, Bello Sali, that the PRTT had been dissolved and the management of the pensions transferred to his office, a new director, Olabisi Jaji, was anointed by the HoS to take over with immediate effect from Maina.
Until her recent appointment, Jaji was a level 17 officer at the Ministry of Environment. She will be supported by a deputy Director, Elizabeth Zenetini, a level 16 officer deployed by the HoS from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to CIPPO.
A letter from the office of the HoS gave March 6 as the deadline for the resumption of the two officers, although it was silent on what disciplinary actions had been taken against Maina for absconding from his duty post without approval.
A senior civil servant who is familiar with the matter and was speaking on the condition of anonymity said Maina, by running away from his job without any explanation, had cost himself his job with the civil service.
He said that the actions if Maina amounted to sacking himself from the civil service and that the government had taken the right steps by filling the vacancy created by his exit.
Maina went underground following an arrest warrant issued by the Senate President, David Mark early in February. They are insisting that Maina be arrested and prosecuted for tampering with pension funds amounting to over N290 billion.
Maina has, however, approached a Federal High Court in Abuja to stop the police from arresting him based on the Senate’s bench warrant, which he describes as a violation of his fundamental human rights.