By Henry Umoru
ABUJA- THE Attorney- General of the Federation and Minister of Justice,Abubakar Malami is presently at a closed session with the Senate Committee to state their own positions on allegations raised by the Senate for being the mastermind of the clandestine return to the country and subsequent re- appointment of former Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Returns, Abdullahi Abdulrasheed Maina as a director in the Civil Service.
Malami who entered the Conference hall, 231 of the Senate wing at 12.33pm is still at the moment answering questions.
He came into the hall with the Ad- hoc Committee led by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Services, Senator Emmanuel Paulker, PDP, Bayelsa Central and other members of the committee.
Soon after the prayer by Senator Paulker at 12.35pm, he later said that in view of the sensitive nature of the of the matter, the meeting would be a closed door session.
Journalists and other staff were asked to leave the hall at 12.39 and as the time of filling the report which is 1.51 pm, the meeting was still on going with the doors locked.
It would be recalled that its maiden meeting last week Wednesday, the Senate Ad- hoc Committee led by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Services, Senator Emmanuel Paulker, PDP, Bayelsa Central has opted for a secret trial of Malami and others.
At the meeting with the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Abubakar Maigaji and officials of the Federal Civil Service Commission, the committee had said it categorically that at the commencement of the proceedings, Journalists would be barred from covering them.
But Malami was quoted to have said that he was prepared to appear before that Senate before they very eyes of everyone including Journalists.
Senator Paulker had said, “It should be stated for the purpose of emphasis that the National Assembly, which is constitutionally saddled with the responsibilities to perform this exercise, is not expected to base its conclusion on the preponderance of views being expressed from members of the public, hence the need to conduct this investigative hearing to be in the right position to make appropriate recommendations to the Senate.
“For the avoidance of doubt, it is pertinent to categorically state that we are on a witch hunting mission, but to perform our mandate in line with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended and the Senate Standing Rules.”
But the Attorney General of the Federation in Vanguard report has kicked against secret trial, saying that he would want the interrogation to be open for every Nigeria it know exactly what took place.
It would be recalled that Senate President Bukola Saraki has on the 24th of October, constituted an adhoc committee chaired by the committee chairman on Public Service and Establishment, Emmanuel Paulker.
The committee was mandated to investigate the circumstances surrounding the return of Maina to the country and how he returned to the civil service as a director.
Other members of the Ad- hoc Committee are the Chairmen and Vice Chairmen of Senate Committees on Anti- Corruption and Financial Crimes; Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters; Interior and Vice Chairman of Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Services.
Saraki had said, “We are all very disturbed. I want the committee to work hard and bring this matter back to us. We need to investigate the bridge in our security and how the anti-corruption war is going.”
It would be recalled that the Senators who had indicted Malami and Dambazau for being responsible for the Maina saga during plenary October 24, took time to speak during discussions on the point of Order raised by Senator Isa Hamma Misau, APC, Bauchi South on the return of Maina in a very controversial manner.
Earlier in his presentation, Senator Misau who spoke under Order 42 and 52 of the Senate Standing Orders 2015 As Amended noted that it was was sad development and urged the Senate to not only condemn it, but urged it to set up a committee to investigate and determine the circumstances sorrounding Maina’s return to the country and how he found his way back into the Federal Civil Service without due process and despite his alleged involvement in corruption cases relating to the mismanagement of the pension fund.