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Ribadu’s exit

Posted by By IKENNA EMEWU and LINUS OBOGO on 2007/12/29 | Views: 923 |

Ribadu’s exit

The removal of the head of EFCC, AIG Nuhu Ribadu was sealed yesterday as President Umar Yar’Adua gave his consent to Inspector General of Police, Sir Mike Okiro to formally inform Ribadu to proceed on one-year study leave at the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) Kuru.

• Soyinka kicks, as PPA calls for his probe
• Balogun tipped as replacement

The removal of the head of EFCC, AIG Nuhu Ribadu was sealed yesterday as President Umar Yar’Adua gave his consent to Inspector General of Police, Sir Mike Okiro to formally inform Ribadu to proceed on one-year study leave at the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) Kuru.
Following the presidential endorsement, Ribadu has been given two weeks to vacate office after handing to a successor yet to be appointed.

However, indications emerged yesterday that Commissioner of Police Olayinka Balogun, the man at the helm of affairs at the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of the Nigeria Police at Milverton Road, Ikoyi Lagos would take over from Ribadu.

Balogun whose SFU is under the Force Criminal Investigations Department (FCID) has built his professional reputation for waging a relentless war against 16 fraudulent banks known as ‘wonder banks’ through which he has recovered over N1b from operators and incidentally clamped down on their operations and the people behind them.

The lot fell for Balogun in good places as the other person earlier tipped for the EFCC top job, Mr. Solomon Arase, the officer that investigated the murder attempt against Abacha’s allies on the life of The Guardian Publisher, Mr. Alex Ibru was dropped since he is yet to complete his professional course at the War College.

It is likely that Balogun may assume duty as EFCC Chairman in the next two weeks.
The ouster of Chairman of the EFCC boss by the Nigeria Police has however elicited mixed reactions as Nigerians expressed diverse views on the development.

A statement issued yesterday by Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka condemned the move in very strong terms and said it was like winding back the hands of the clock in the fight against corruption.
But the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) sees the exit of Ribadu as something to cheer about. PPA even called for the probe of Ribadu’s term as the head of the crime-busting agency.

The party said since Ribadu fought crimes, a move every Nigerian supported, and has been looking into the records of past public office holders by virtue of his office, it would be just and proper that his own records as head of EFCC be looked into and brought to public glare.
However, Nobel Laureate, Professor Woke Soyinka has condemned what could pass as the surreptitious removal of the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Malam Nuhu Ribadu, following a recommendation that he should proceed on a one-year study leave at the Nigerian Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Jos.

In a statement at the weekend, entitled “Exit Ribadu?” Soyinka, while likening the news of the order on Ribadu to go on a study leave to the mindless assassination of Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto, said the removal of the anti-graft boss has more devastating impact on the psyche of the Nigerian nation than the dastardly event in the crisis-torn Pakistan.

Describing the clandestine removal as an attempt at crippling what he described as result-oriented agency, the Nobel Laureate said: “This obvious attempt at crippling one of the two anti-corruption crusade agencies of the nation, unarguably aggressive and result- oriented on an unprecedented scale, must therefore be read as an assault on the very bastion of democracy.”

According to Soyinka, “the news of Nuhu Ribadu’s removal from the anti-corruption Nigerian organisation known as the EFCC will have, in all likelihood, a far more devastating impact on the psyche of the Nigerian nation than the deadly event that now threatens to further destabilize the tortured nation known as Pakistan, through the assassination of her democratic front runner, Benazir Bhutto.”

Lamenting the implied sacking of Ribadu, Soyinka charged: “The ruling party of Nigeria, the PDP has proved yet again that there is no reformist agenda possible within its ranks. The presidential incumbent bears the primary and ultimate responsibility for this grotesque reversal of the nation’s frustrated push towards possible redemption, but it is the ruling party itself, the PDP, that continues to suffocate the nation in its folds of corruption, negating every attempt to rid her of this incubus, since that party has exhibited itself, again and again, as the very quagmire of corruption, nurtured on corruption, sustained by corruption and dependent on corruption for its very survival.” According to him, the tree of democracy cannot thrive on the compost of corruption.
Contrastingly, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN) said there is nothing wrong with the removal of Ribadu as it does not breach the Act establishing the agency.

• PPA calls for probe
A statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary of PPA on yesterday said that apart from the EFCC boss giving account of his stewardship, his activities ought to be looked into by an independent body, with the view to finding out what transpired in the commission.

Said he: “Ribadu should be probed. He should give account of everything he did as EFCC chairman. He should tell Nigerians how much was recovered from the people he arrested and prosecuted.

He should give account of the sale of the seized property of these people.”
The party’s chieftain said Ribadu should have been removed a long time ago based on what the EFCC did to the electoral process.

He party said: “He ought to have been removed to give credence to the electoral process. He vindictively haunted Olusegun Obasanjo’s enemies before the last elections. Look at the way Deprieye Alamayieseigha of Bayelsa State was removed from office. Look at what happened in Plateau State and others.

“Obasanjo did not want some people to participate in the last general election and he used Ribadu. Such a person does not have a place in democracy.”
The PPA said that the United Nations had said that 80 percent of corruption in the country, under the Obasanjo government, was perpetrated in the Presidency but that Ribadu never deemed it fit to probe the institution.
“Why did he not make efforts to look into the activities of Obasanjo?,” the party queried.

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