Senators on Tuesday indicted the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), for being the mastermind of the clandestine return to the country and subsequent placement at the Ministry of Interior of former Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abdullahi Abdulrasheed Maina.
Senators, who took time to speak during discussions on the point of order raised by Senator Isa Hamman Misau (APC, Bauchi South) on the return of Maina in controversial circumstances, also indicted Interior Minister, Lt. General Abdulrahman Dambazau (retd).
They also urged President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently sack the two ministers, saying the President has surrounded himself with those undermining him and causing confusion in the country.
Consequently, the Senate set up an ad-hoc committee to determine the circumstances that led to the return of Maina to the country and his being compensated with a position as a Director in the Federal Civil Service, in spite of the fact that he had been under watch.
The committee, headed by Chairman, Senate Committee on Establishments and Public Services, Senator Emmanuel Paulker (PDP, Bayelsa Central), has as members the Chairmen and Vice Chairmen of Senate Committees on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes; Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters; Interior and Vice Chairman of Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Services. While hailing President Buhari for acting promptly in dismissing Maina from the civil service.
The Senate, however, said it lacks confidence in the expected outcome of the presidential committee’s report.
Earlier in his presentation on Tuesday, Senator Misau, who spoke under Order 42 and 52 of the Senate Standing Orders 2015 as amended, described the incident as a sad development.
In his contribution, Senate Chief Whip, Senator Olusola Adeyeye (APC, Osun Central), who noted that President Buhari had it as a duty to hold the ministers responsible, said: “I remember what happened then.
“It got to a point when the former President of the Senate, David Mark, told the former President, Goodluck Jonathan, to choose between Abdulrasheed Maina and loyalty to the country. It got so bad that Maina had over 30 police officers attached to him. “As a member of APC, it is a sad moment.
“We cannot say that we want to fight corruption and have this approach. Jesus Christ said it is difficult for a rich man to pass through the eye of a needle.
“This saddens me and I am sure it saddens all of us. I am glad that following the outrage from the public, the President acted swiftly. We read in the papers that the rules of the civil service were bypassed.”
Also contributing, Senator Kabiru Marafa (APC, Zamfara Central), said: “I want to appreciate the person who brought this motion by exposing some dubious people in government. No family can boast of having 100 per cent good people.
“APC is not an exception. We cannot attribute everything to the President. He should be commended for rising to the occasion.
“Reinstating Maina is a crime against Nigerians. We should approve a full blown investigation into what happened. We must not allow this thing to go unnoticed.”
Also contributing, Senator Attai Idoko (PDP, Kogi East), said: “We are looking at the symptoms; we are not looking at the cause. Maina is too small to go back to office. Somebody brought him back to the office. Maina is too small; he is not the issue. We should look at those who returned Maina.
“As we were told, the person who approved this thing is the AGF. The simplest thing the President could do was to terminate the appointment of Maina. That is not the issue. The AGF brought him back. The AGF has a history of doing things like this. The President should tell us what he will do to the AGF.”
In his contribution, Senator Bassey Albert Akpan (PDP, Akwa Ibom North-East), said: “The Senate must investigate and bring to book any person who wants to bring this country to disrepute. We will stand with the Senate to ensure that the right thing is done.”
Also contributing, Senator Tayo Alaosoadura (APC, Ondo Central), said: “The President has set up a committee to investigate. We should not call names of people who have not been indicted; we should not duplicate issues. If the executive has set up a committee, we should not do the same thing. We must not set up committees every time.”
In his contribution, Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West), said: “It is pathetic. We should continue in sin and ask grace to abound? The AGF, time after time, has abused his office. Maina did not get himself back. We should talk about the integrity of the AGF and his office. If the number one law officer is breaking the law, where is the hope?
“The AGF started with the forgery case against Saraki and Ekweremadu. Something happened, we have not noticed. Two public officers had issues and the AGF chose to support the Inspector-General of Police against Senator Isa Hamman Misau. Today, it is Senator Isah versus the Federal Government.”
In his remarks, Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who presided, commended senators who spoke, saying “we are all very disturbed and I would like the committee to work hard on this matter that borders on our security, corruption and how we manage the public service.”