© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
How Maina was arrested in Abuja, as son attempted to escape
DETAILS of the arrest of former Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Abdulraheed Maina, on Wednesday have emerged as his son, Faisal, crashed a bullet proof Range Rover SUV in an attempt to escape arrest.
Operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS)have confirmed they arrested Maina and his 20-year-old son at the Pennsylvania Avenue Hotel, Utako, Abuja following a request by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to the agency to assist in apprehending the suspect.
A security source told The ICIR that Maina’s son, Faisal, a final year student at the Canadian University of Dubai, attempted to escape with the SUV and rammed against the hotel gate, causing dents and burst tyres on the vehicle.
The source said that security operatives had been on Maina’s trail for a few days as he moved from one hotel to another in the nation’s capital. On Wednesday, when the DSS agents moved in to arrest maina, he was said to have given himself over without any resistance.
However, it was gathered that when his father was taken downstairs, Faisal was asked to stay back to witness a search of the room. According to the source, rather than wait in the room, the boy ran downstair to the Range Rover SUV and locked himself in. He then made to escape, smashing into the gate. TheDSS operatives on the hotel premises are said to have demobilised the car. In the process, the source said that Faisal pulled out a gun and shot at an operative before he was “demobilised.
Nobody was, however, injured in the incident but a picture of the Range Rover exclusively obtained by The ICIR showed that there might have been a gun duel between boy and the operatives.
A side of the vehicle shows gunshots that could not penetrate as it was a bullet proof car and a burst rear tyre, apparently hit by a bullet.
A statement from DSS spokesman, Peter Afunanya confirmed that Faisal Maina, unsuccessfully tried to resist the arrest.
He said “the lad even pulled a pistol against the security agents involved in the operation.”
“He was, however, disarmed and arrested. He is a final year student at the Canadian University of Dubai where he is studying Telecoms Engineering,” He said the items recovered from the suspects include a pistol with live ammunition, a bullet proof Range Rover SUV, a BMW Saloon car, foreign currencies, a phantom 7 drone and sensitive documents. He said the suspects and the recovered items will be handed over to the EFCC for further investigations and appropriate necessary actions.
Afunanya said it is instructive to note that the operation is as a result of a renewed inter-agency collaboration among security and law enforcement agencies.
He said the Service has always subscribed to such collaboration believed to be important in national security management and therefore, hopes to sustain the initiative in mitigating the current threats against public safety and national critical assets.
Both Maina and his son are currently in the EFCC custody. The ICIR source said he is to be prosecuted for illegal possession of firearm and corruption.
Maina was a Director at the Customs, Immigrations, and Prisons Pension Office (CIPPO) in the Ministry of Interior before he was appointed PRTT Chairman by Steve Oronsaye, then Head of Service of the Federation, in 2010.
But Maina and Oronsaye also got enmeshed in the pension fraud they ought to be fighting, mindlessly looting the pension coffers of billions of naira.
After he escaped from the country, news filtered in that Maina has re-entered Nigeria and was also reinstated.
In October 2017, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered his disengagement immediately after news broke that the fugitive had been secretly recalled into the federal civil service and promoted as a Director in the Ministry of Interior.
Buhari also queried the Head of Service of the Federation, demanding an explanation as to what led to Maina’s recall. The report was submitted to Abba Kyari, Buhari’s Chief of Staff, on Monday evening. But its contents remain unknown.
Since the news of Maina’s reinstatement broke, the Ministry of Interior has been trading blames with the office of the Head of Service and the Civil Service Commission over who authorised the move.
Maina has since been handed over to the EFCC and he and his son are believed to have spent the night in the anti corruption agency’s detention centre.
Apart from the corruption charges against him, a top EFCC source said that the police might also be brought in to investigate him and his son and possibly prosecute them for illegal gun possession.