Former president Goodluck Jonathan has pushed back against “absurd” attempts by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to link him to the unfolding scandal of how a fugitive, AbdulRasheed Maina, returned to the country and took a senior position in public service.
Jonathan said the fact that efforts are being made to link him to the return and reinstatement of Maina underscored how “uncoordinated and rudderless” the Buhari administration has become.
“Are they saying it is President Jonathan that flew him back into Nigeria and promoted him in two levels ahead of where he was as at 2013 when he fled the from civil service?” Jonathan’s spokesperson, Ikechukwu Eze, told Premium Times on Wednesday night.
“They should stop insulting Nigerians or seeing them as fools,” Mr. Eze said.
Mr. Maina was declared wanted by the EFCC on allegations of courting billions in public funds for his own use when he headed the pension reform task force.
The pension funds scandal broke out during Mr. Jonathan’s administration (2010-2015), and the government took disciplinary steps against Mr. Maina by dismissing him from service.
Mr. Maina was an assistant director at the time of his dismissal.
The presidency, in a statement by Garba Shehu yesterday, said top officials of Jonathan administration benefited from the funds Mr. Maina allegedly stole from pension funds.
“Top officials in the PDP government, from sectoral heads, to those charged with responsibility for law and order received some of these billions of naira from Maina,” he said. “We have all the transaction records and these are matters that the EFCC has been pursuing to ensure that they all have their day in court.”
Firing back within minutes later when PT reached him for comments, Jonathan’s spokesperson said the Buhari administration officials should waste little time in bringing out any evidence of connivance between Mr. Jonathan and Mr. Maina if they have it.
“There’s no need to warn that they will bring evidence out or that everything will be revealed on a later date,” Mr. Eze said. “They should present the evidence to Nigerians now.”
Mr. Eze said Mr. Maina’s family had already disclosed how the embattled man returned to the country and secured a new position in civil service even while he was being sought by the EFCC.
“The Maina family spoke about how he returned to the country and they made it very clear that Buhari officials were the ones that orchestrated his return.”