Keyamo: HoS is Dodgy on Maina Recall Saga

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Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja

Lagos lawyer, Festus Keyamo, has faulted the memo written by the Head of Service, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, to the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, where she warned President Muhammadu Buhari against the reinstatement of the former Chairman of the Pension Reforms Commission, Mallam Abdulrasheed Maina, into the civil service.

In the said memo, Oyo-Ita warned that recalling Maina would have dire implications on government’s anti-corruption fight.

Keyamo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, described the Maina saga as condemnable, saying the HoS was dodgy in the role she played in the ongoing saga.

Similarly, he plugged a hole in Oyo-Ita’s claim that she called the president aside after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on October 11, where she orally warned Buhari against bringing Maina back to the service.

Keyamo said the HoS breached the standard bureaucratic practice by calling Buhari aside and whispering to his ear, rather than putting her views in writing.

“I have read her memo very well where she said after the FEC meeting, she called the president aside, and spoke to him orally. Government is all about bureaucracy and not oral communication. If she had reservations about Maina recall, she should have put it to the president in black and white for him to look at it. Whispering in itself is not a standard procedure in bureaucracy. She can not whisper into the ears of the president as if it was a secret society,” Keyamo queried.

According to Keyamo, Malami’s memo to Oyo-Ita was only advisory and if she was opposed to the reinstatement of Maina to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, she should have carried out her objection in writing to the president.

He said the major characters in the saga-Oyo-Ita and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami-fingered in the controversial recall of Maina before his dismissal by Buhari- of absolving themselves by indulging in blame game.

He said that the AGF got the matter wrongly and should have handled it differently by helping EFCC to appeal the court judgment brought by Maina, instead of reinstating the erstwhile Pensions Reforms Commission boss.

“The whole saga is messy. First from the angle of the AGF, who is my friend and brother in Silk. I would have preferred he handled it differently. If you have a court judgement restraining a law agency from doing their job, that is, somebody wants you to clarify certain allegations against you, the person ran away only for him to come with a court judgement. As the chief law officer, he should help the system by appealing the judgement. That particular judgement did not augur well for the anti- corruption crusade,” Keyamo said.

He also said there was no court order that said that Maina did not do any wrong thing, nor a court of law that prevented EFCC from declaring him wanted.