Various groups and individuals on Wednesday warned the Federal Government against any attempt to intimidate the Head of Service, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita over the leaked memo on the Abdulrasheed Maina saga.
Speaking on the issue, the convener of the Coalition of Northern Politicians, Academics, Professionals and Businessmen, Dr Junaid Mohammed, said the “verbal tirade” against Oyo-Ita by the President’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, was obviously an attempt to intimidate her into silence.
He said, “This shameless act by the Chief of Staff clearly shows you how desperate this administration can get. Most of the questions we as Nigerians have been asking about what Mr. President knows about this whole Maina saga have been answered by this leaked memo.
“We have been asking what does Mr. President know about this whole thing and when was it brought to his attention? Unless he comes clean, no attempt by a chief of staff to intimidate a thorough bred career civil servant whose record of performance he can never match can wash this administration clean of this crime against the Nigerian people.
“If anybody feels strongly about what she said in her reply to the query issued to her such a person should produce a superior counter-argument instead of trying to intimidate her into silence. Nigerians are watching. This woman was queried, she merely replied, what tells you that it was not members of the cabal that leaked the document to make her look bad?”
The Committee for the Defence of Human Rights has also flayed Kyari for attacking Oyo-Ita, saying it was an embarrassment to the Buhari administration.
The CDHR President, Malachy Ugwummadu, said, “The Maina issue has become very scandalising and embarrassing. It is not unexpected. Some of us have repeatedly expressed our resentment over the poor coordination of the entire affairs of this government.
“The height of that resentment was the show of shame that characterised the altercation and near fisticuffs of the Chief of Staff and the Head of Service. I think the President at this point needs to address the drift.”
The Director, Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, Debo Adeniran, however, said, “What happened between Abba Kyari and Oyo-Ita was a private discussion which we should not worry about, except Kyari was seen to be an interloper in matters which concern the President.”
Mr. Olajide Fasakin, who is one of the aides to the embattled former chairman of the defunct Presidential Task Force on Pension Reform, Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina, has said his boss was hiding to protect himself from being killed.
Fasakin claimed that some people were after Maina’s life, saying they attempted to assassinate him during the administration of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
Fasakin, who stated this on Wednesday while featuring on Channels Television, insisted that he did not know the whereabouts of the embattled former pension reform chairman.
He said the people that wanted to kill him shot at him five times, adding that it was after the shooting that he had to go underground.
When asked whether Maina would come out if the Senate President promised to protect his life, the aide said, “I would not advise him to come on the basis of the fact that there was a petition against some members of the 7th Senate of having collected some N3bn from the pension thieves. The petition is with the ICPC and the EFCC; we haven’t got the report up to this moment.
“ The only way out, most likely, would have been for Mr. President, in his position as the President of the country to put together a commission of enquiry like Justice Chukwudifu Oputa Panel, do all the activities on the television, then we would advise him to come out.”