Despite the denials of the Buhari administration towards shelving the issue of the reinstatement of Abdulrasheed Maina, unfolding events continue to raise the need for a more in-depth inquiry into the matter.
Mr Maina’s recent video interview has prompted questions as to the extent of the president’s involvement in the scandal. The former pensions reform boss alleges that it was the president who directed that he, Maina, be recalled to the service, initiating the proceedings allegedly orchestrated by two Ministers and other top Government officials that led to his reinstatement.
Based on available documents and reports, we have captured a timeline of the development of the scandal here, up to the recent developments.
- 27th April 2017: The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, writes to the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC) requesting it to give consequential effect to the judgment that voided the warrant of arrest issued against Mr Maina. The court’s judgment, according to Mr Malami, had formed the basis for the query and dismissal of Maina, and since the judgment had been voided, there could no longer be, in his reasoning, a valid reason for desiring the arrest of Maina.
- 14th June 2017: The leadership of the Federal Civil Service Commission meets on the request made by the Attorney-General.
- 21st June 2017: A week after, the Federal Civil Service Commission writes to the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF) asking it to advise the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior to consider the Attorney-General’s letter on the case of Mr Maina and revert to the Commission with a course of action.
- 22nd June 2017: The Senior Staff Committee (SSC) of the Ministry of Interior holds a meeting to consider Maina’s case and the Attorney-General’s letter. The Committee recommends that Mr Maina be reinstated as a Deputy Director (Salary Grade Level 16), as against the request from Mr Malami’s letter for him to return as Director (Salary Grade Level 17).
- 14th August 2017: The Senior Staff Committee forwards its recommendation to the Federal Civil Service Commission.
- 16th August 2017: The Commission meets to consider all they have – Attorney-General’s letter and Ministry of Interior’s SSC recommendation on Mr Maina – and approved the reinstatement with effect from 21st February, 2013, the date of his dismissal from the service.
- 18th September 2017: Federal Civil Service Commission writes the Head of Service of the Federation, notifying of the reinstatement of Maina as Deputy Director (Administration), on Salary Grade Level 16, through a letter signed on behalf of the Commission’s chairman, by Mustapha L. Sulaiman.
- 28th September 2017: Maina resumes duty at the Ministry of Interior as Deputy Director administration, confirmed by a letter to the OHCSF from the Ministry of Interior, signed by Salihu A. Bala, on behalf of the Permanent Secretary.
- 23rd October 2017: President Buhari directs the disengagement from service of Abdullahi Abdulrasheed Maina with immediate effect via a Press Release signed by Femi Adesina, and calls for report on circumstance of his reinstatement to be submitted to Chief of Staff Abba Kyari by the close of work same day.
- 23rd November 2017: Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, tells the House ad hoc Committee investigating the Maina scandal that “the letter giving clear directives [for Maina’s reinstatement] could not have genuinely emanated from my office”.
At the same hearing, Mr Malami’s claims are countered by the Head of Service of the Federation, Ms Winifred Oyo-Ita who said her office “started receiving series of letters written by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice”. The Chairman of the Federal Civil Service Commission, Mr Akande, told the Committee that “the commission received a letter from the Attorney-General dated 19th January 2017 demanding the reinstatement of Maina”.
- 28th November 2017: Channels Television releases clip of video interview with Maina from an undisclosed location. Maina appeals to president Buhari for an opportunity to tell him what the “saints” around him will not. Maina also promises to recover trillions of naira within 6 months.