Pension cash scandal: Maina goes into hiding

Abdulrasheed MainaSecurity agencies have launched a manhunt for the controversial Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Force (PRTF), Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina.

Maina has reportedly gone into hiding for fear that the “pension cabal” will attack him.

PRTF officials have vacated their office, apparently for fear of arrest.

The resolution of the Senate which asked the Executive to choose between it and Maina, led to the fresh manhunt.

But President Goodluck Jonathan, who denied shielding Maina, was scheduled to meet Senate President David Mark over the matter last night.

A highly-placed source, who spoke in confidence, said: “All security agencies have been mandated to watch-list Maina and bring him to justice as directed by the Senate.

“As I am talking to you, all police aides, police escort and other security detail attached to Maina have been withdrawn.

“We gave him adequate security because of the sensitive nature of the assignment given to him. But since he has problems with the Senate, we have withdrawn the guards deployed in his office and home.

“The last set of three operatives attached to Maina was recalled last week.

“The renewed search for the chairman of PRTF started on Wednesday after the Senate passed the resolution.”

The source went on: “We will surely get him; he cannot escape. Already, all banks have been mandated not to honour any cheque or clearance relating to pension funds from Maina’s office, until he respects the law of the land.”

Asked why it is difficult to get Maina, the source added: “We are suspecting that he might have worked with the secret service during the administration of the late Gen. Sani Abacha. He knows the game very well. I think he has been in the power corridors, including the Presidential Villa, in the last 19 years.”

But, Maina has given two reasons for going into hiding.

He said the pension cabal, which he exposed as the chairman of the PRTF, might kill him.

One of his aides, who pleaded not to be named, said: “Two reasons make it difficult for the PRTF chairman to make any public appearance and possibly defend himself over allegations by the Senate.

“Maina, who has maintained a low profile since the Senate caused him to be declared ‘wanted’, cannot come out because he fears that the pension cabal is actually after his life and not his mere sack by the President.

“The Task Team leader seems to have ventured where angels fear to tread in an attempt to expose the pension cabal that has been pillaging pension funds for the past 44 years.

“Maina dares not venture out of his hiding, given the fact that the powers that be may have sacrificed him to cover up the 44 years of fraud in Nigeria pension system, and the cabal that has been behind it is bent on eliminating him physically.

“With guards completely withdrawn, and the seeming involvement of the Senate and the police in the alleged plot to get at Maina, it will be suicidal for him to show up or even appear in the public for whatever reasons.

The aide said Maina, who spoke from his hideout said he was “fast losing confidence in the Nigerian state, as he has suddenly become a villain for saving the country billions of naira, being stolen daily by pension thieves.”

Police Chief Mohammed Abubakar yesterday urged Maina to give himself up.

Police spokesman Frank Mba, who spoke on behalf of the Inspector-General said: “We are irrevocably committed to arresting Maina as soon as we lay our hands on him. We will arrest and take him before the Senate.

“He was declared wanted by the police because he went into hiding and that made it difficult for the police to execute the warrant of arrest that was legitimately issued against him.’’

On the allegation that Maina was being guarded by the police, Mba said “he has no police officer in his entourage, to the best of my knowledge.”

“Even in the press release that we gave, we did say that any citizen who has any information that could help us in finding and executing that order should please pass the information to the appropriate authorities,’’ Mba said, adding:

“If anyone has the information on how we can get him, we will be pleased to have it.’’

According to him, the police will not allow themselves to be pulled into unnecessary controversy.

“The only thing is that the Senate has issued a warrant of arrest on Maina and that is where we come in,’’ Mba said.

Mba added: “The media who keep publishing press releases from the chairman of the pension task team should ask him why he is in hiding. If he says police have abused his rights by declaring him wanted, the least he could have done would be to appear at the Force Headquarters where he can query the police for declaring him wanted.”

Source: The NATION

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