Maina the Menace: Rogues Chasing A Rogue
By Taju Tijani
Where is Abdulrasheed Maina? Can somebody tell him to swim ashore before a dragnet fishes him out? The drama of his disappearance is astonishing. Maina is a popular figure in the Abuja circuit of elite civil servants. He has his house and office in Abuja. He drives around Abuja. He canoodles his harem of wives in and around Abuja. Yet, this intrepid thief is mesmerising this nation. He is waoing us all with the masterstroke of a classic Houdini disappearing magic. Of course, in the warren of houses in Suleija it is easy to accommodate a rich fugitive. But Maina the absconding rogue is too self-assured to be seen bedding down among the commoners of bustling Suleija.
The menace of Maina has been doing the Nigerian circuit for months. He has been dodging and ducking every move to get him to regurgitate all he knows about the pension scam under his able watch. Anytime the dragnet closes in, Maina has the uncanny ability to develop wings and fly away. We have been watching this charade, this comical road show, this show of baleful disregard for the law of the land and we seem not to have seen the last of vanishing Maina. There was a lull in the search for him until the National Assembly began to develop recurring migraine over Maina’s palaver. Our senators could no longer bear the shame of being perceived as toothless bulldogs. They could not bear the shame of seeing their power derided by an absconding rat like Maina. They could not bear the antic of a manic Maina as he dribbles our senators and dares their wrath.
Who is this modern day Houdini? Remember Houdini? Harry Houdini remains one of the most famous magicians in history. He was most famous for his ability to escape from what seemed like anything and everything, including ropes, handcuffs, straightjackets, jail cells, water-filled milk cans, and even nailed-shut boxes that had been thrown into a river. In other words, he was a disappearing genius. Maina is walking in the footsteps of this giant who could disappear at will. As we celebrate Maina for his Houdini’s stunt, we also have to mention that we can interpret Maina in many other ways. He is an Assistant Director in the federal public service. Alhaji Abdulrasheed Maina is the Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT). He is accused of looting N195billion pension funds. He lives an open, opulence lifestyle around Abuja.
He enjoys warm association with the executive and mighty men of power in Nigeria. He moves around the city with two bullet-proof Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs). He is escorted by 27 combined security details. He likes the limelight and addresses press conferences and places syndicated paid advertorials without the consent of his permanent secretary and other superior officers in the service. He has been a wanted man since last year. He failed to appear before the Senate Joint Committee on the Investigation of Pension Funds. On 13th December 2012 a warrant of arrest was issued empowering the Inspector-General of Police to arrest and produce Maina before the Senate Joint Committee on the Investigation of Pension Fund.
“The IGP wishes to appeal to well meaning citizens and the general public with useful information on the where-about of Alhaji Abdulrasheed Maina, to kindly volunteer such information to the nearest Police Station, Formation or email email@example.com, for necessary action.” That was the IGP’s appeal asking us to smoke out Maina. As days turned to weeks and as weeks turned to months, the tension over Maina’s intransigence and wilful disregard for constituted authority would soon reach its most volatile peak. Just this week, knives, clubs and daggers were out on the floor of the National Assembly. The National Assembly was turned into a coliseum where Maina’s head was demanded on a platter. The steamy mass of ancient folklore of Maina’s evasive power gave way to a more robust challenge to the presidency to produce Maina before the sky falls on President Jonathan himself.
Nobody embodied the collective anger of our senators than the fiery personality of Adeyemi Smart. Smart and other angry lawmakers in the Upper Legislative Chamber of the National Assembly expressed disgust that some top notches in the executive are protecting Maina, thereby reinforcing his confidence to continue to ignore the summon of the lawmakers over allegations of misappropriating N195 billion pension funds. The Senators described Maina, as a “liar, rascal and a criminal,” in his display of arrogance and convening press conferences to ridicule the Senators.
Tired and frustrated, the Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba and 107 other Senators moved a motion on the abuse of office by Maina. They unanimously resolved that President Jonathan should dismiss Maina from the public service and disengage him from all acts relating to public duty. The Senators also directed anti-graft agencies to immediately commence investigation of Maina and his eventual prosecution for alleged mismanagement and embezzlement of pension funds.
However, Maina was said to have accused the Senate Committee investigating him for pension fraud of demanding and receiving N3 billion from the loot. He was said to have also appealed to the Senate President, David Mark, to dissolve the committee and constitute a new one to guarantee him fair hearing as well as ensuring successful probe of the pension sector. Maina has given us a linear clue that suggests that rogues are chasing a rogue in this saga. Maina crime is obvious. He stole money meant for pensioners. That is, he is a killer. His action has sent many pensioners to their untimely graves. His action is accelerating the demise of many other pensioners as I write. The crowing senators from Adeyemi Smart to the meanest mad dog within our legislative chamber should go bury their heads in shame. Maina mentioned that they (the senators) DEMANDED and RECEIVED N3billion naira from his loot.
Those who are looking for Maina know where he is. Maina’s evasion is a damnation for our police force. The lofty bravura of Mohamed Abubakar, the IGP, is tad inconsistent. Maina has police guards all around him. The Presidency is also shielding this important thief. A transparent President Goodluck Jonathan should have sacked Maina at the merest whiff of his complicity in the massive looting of public money. I want to believe that Maina is working to a script. Those senators who DEMANDED and RECEIVED money from the pension loot are the ones emboldening and hardening the fragile arteries of Maina from Senatorial examination. Any day Maina is arraigned in our rogues gallery, many senators will go down with him. This is what the man is trying to avoid.
Politicians, police officers, influential Nigerians and even journalists who shared the loot with him are waiting jailbirds the moment an absconding Maina open wide his mouth and sing like a caged canary for the rude delight of helpless and defrauded pensioners. Did I say waiting jailbirds? For that to happen, we have to send the case file to the Old Bailey. Nigerians judges are not known to convict political looters! People say that Northerners hardly steal public money but the staistics of their lootocracy is staggering. Farouk Lawan, John Yakubu Yusuf and now Abdulrasheed Maina. Is this the onset of corruption paradigm shift?