By Isiaka Wakili
The Senate will on Tuesday take a final decision on President Goodluck Jonathan regarding the directive given him to sack the chairman of the Pension Reform Task Force, Mr Abdulrasheed Maina.
Spokesman of the Senate, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP, Abia South), says the decision of the Senate calling for Maina’s sack is irrevocable.
Speaking to our correspondent on phone yesterday, Abaribe said the Senate was not concerned about whether the Presidency applies civil service rules to dismiss the pension fund helmsman.
He said the Senate would not accept any option from President Goodluck Jonathan on its agitation for Maina’s immediate dismissal.
According to Abaribe, “what we want to hear next week is that Maina has been sacked as we have insisted. This is not optional. We won’t condone any other option from the president on the matter. Simple!”
The co-chairman of the Senate Joint Committee on Public Service and Establishment and State and Local Government Administration which investigated the alleged mismanagement of pension funds, Senator Kabir Gaya (ANPP, Kano South), also disclosed that the Upper Chamber would be waiting to receive a report of the Head of Service on Tuesday.
The Senate, while adopting a motion sponsored by Senate Leader Victor Ndoma-Egba and 107 other senators had on Wednesday urged President Goodluck Jonathan to either sack Maina or risk a battle.
It would be recalled that the panel, after a four-month investigation into the alleged mismanagement of pension fund, had said in its report submitted on June 20, 2012 that N273.9 billion pension fund was diverted between 2005 and 2011. Also, last December, the panel discovered N195 billion fresh pension fraud, bringing the alleged scam to a total sum of N469 billion.
The panel had summoned Maina six times to no avail after which Senate President David Mark, in vain, issued a warrant of arrest on him.
Mark, who on Wednesday described senators’ anger as justifiable, asked Jonathan to choose between Main and the Senate, threatening that the Senate has the teeth to bite and will bite if the executive “decided to go along with Maina.
Jonathan had on Friday directed the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Mr Isa Bello Sali, to initiate disciplinary action against Maina for ignoring the Senate.
But yesterday, Senator Gaya said since Jonathan had directed Sali to initiate disciplinary action against the embattled pension task force boss, the Senate would on Tuesday look at what the Head of Service would recommend and take a decision on the Jonathan-led administration accordingly.
Gaya, a former governor of Kano State, however declined comment on the kind of decision the Senate would specifically take on Jonathan should he fails to sack, arrest and prosecute Maina as directed by the Upper Chamber.
In the same vein, the chairman of the committee, Senator Aloysius Etok (PDP, Akwa Ibom North-West), who also spoke to our correspondent on phone yesterday, said: “the Senate is not interested in how the executive sacks Maina. We’ve passed our resolutions. All we’re interested in is for the executive to implement our resolutions on Maina. That is what we’re waiting for before taking our final position on the executive on Tuesday”.