By Rafiu Ajakaye
Nigeria’s president has ordered the sacking of a senior bureaucrat wanted in a corruption probe, bowing to national outrage over reports the official had returned to the civil service.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the immediate disengagement from service of Abdullahi Abdulrasheed Maina, former chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms,” presidential spokesman Femi Adesina said in a statement on Monday.
The president also demanded a full report of the circumstances of Maina's re-employment at the Interior Ministry, due later Monday, the statement added.
Nigeria had been gripped by outrage over a report that the man wanted by Interpol and the nation’s anti-graft agency -- and until now, on the run after charges were filed against him -- had been reabsorbed into the civil service under a government that touts the fight against corruption as its hallmark.
Wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and Interpol since 2014, Maina fled Nigeria over charges he had misappropriated from the state pensions fund.
News of Maina being back in the country and reabsorbed into public service was first reported by a local news outlet, Premium Times, triggering a serious image crisis for the Buhari government.
Many questioned how Maina had managed to escape the radar of Interpol and border police in sneaking back into the country.