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EFCC: PRONACO, ANPP, Oshiomhole, others differ on Ribadu’s exit

Posted by By MURPHY GANAGANA, Abuja and DESMOND MGBOH, Kano on 2008/01/02 | Views: 811 |

EFCC: PRONACO, ANPP, Oshiomhole, others differ on Ribadu’s exit

The police high command said on Monday that Ibrahim Lamorde, an Assistant Commissioner of police and director of operations of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), is not among officers scheduled to attend the Senior Command Course at the Police Staff College in Jos.

The police high command said on Monday that Ibrahim Lamorde, an Assistant Commissioner of police and director of operations of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), is not among officers scheduled to attend the Senior Command Course at the Police Staff College in Jos.

This is coming at a time various individuals and groups have taken divergent positions on the directive to the Chairman of the EFCC, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, to proceed to the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPPS), in Kuru, Plateau State for a one year course. Among those against his removal are the immediate past president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who sees the government’s decision as being in bad faith; Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Anti-corruption, Senator Dahiru Kuta and former presidential candidate, Prof Pat Utomi.
Inspector General of police, Mike Okiro, who made the clarification at a press conference in Abuja, dismissed the reports on Lamorde’s planned exit from the EFCC as totally false and unfounded, saying it was a figment of the reporters’ imagination.

Speaking through the Deputy Inspector General of police in charge of training department, Alhaji Uba Ringim, the IGP said the reports originated from misrepresentation in the name of one Titus Lamorde, an Assistant Commissioner of police attached to the Ports Authority Police command, who is among 53 officers slated to attend the eight week senior command course in Jos, from January 14 to March 7, 2008.
Said Ringim: “The attention of the IGP and the Nigeria Police Force has been drawn to reports indicating that Ibrahim Lamorde, the director of operations of the EFCC has been asked to proceed on course at the Police Staff College in Jos. This report is totally false and unfounded.

“The true position is that as DIG ‘E’ Department, I am responsible to organize training especially for Assistant Superintendents of police up to deputy commissioners. This time, Assistant Commissioners of police are going on training at the Police Staff College in Jos, and 53 of them were selected.

Among them is one Titus Lamorde working with PAP. There is no list of officers going on course that Ibrahim Lamorde’s name is there. If an officer is going on course, we notify his boss where he or she is working. We did not notify the chairman of EFCC about Lamorde, because he is not going on course.”
To substantial his claim, the DIG made available to newsmen, copies of a police wireless message with reference CE: 4621/’E’ DEPT/FHQ/ABJ/SCC/VOL.1/209 containing names of the 53 officers nominated to attend the senior command course in Jos.

In a press statement also issued on Monday in Abuja and signed by the Force Public Relations Officer, Agberebi Akpoebi (ACP), the IGP noted: “For the avoidance of doubt, the Nigeria police wish to make it clear that the ‘E’ Department of the Force Headquarters schedules officers for courses on yearly basis, hence ACP Titus Lamorde attached to the PAP in Lagos is scheduled for the senior command course at the Police Staff College Jos, and not Ibrahim Lamorde of the EFCC as widely reported.”

Meanwhile, the Pro-National Conference Organisation (PRONACO) and All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Kano State chapter, have asked Nigerians not to shed any tear for the embattled chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over his redeployment to the NIPSS, saying his selective tendencies in the anti-graft war has long offered a creditable reason for his removal.

Spokesperson of Pro-National Conference Organization, PRONACO, Mr. Wale Okunniyi, described the decision of the Federal Government as a welcome development and a step in the right direction, though belated.
The PRONACO chief, while reviewing the state of the nation, told journalists that the EFCC structure under Mallam Ribadu had been largely selective and bias in its anti corruption crusade.
“Rather than confront the guru of fraud in the last regime, Ribadu used his position to essentially witch-hunt and harass Obasanjo’s perceived opponents and political foes, so, it appears to us that the EFCC, under Ribadu, was mainly established to terrorize people in Obasanjo’s agenda,” Okunniyi said.
He also said throughout Ribadu tenure Obasanjo, his cronies and protégés had a field day, while anti-third term brigades and their family members were hounded into detention or beaten into line with the help of the EFCC.
The constitutional expert said although the anti-corruption crusade initiated by former President Obasanjo helped greatly to raise consciousness of Nigerians against corrupt practices, its prosecution was selective and poorly executed as it relates to the third term agenda and Obasanjo’s interest.
PRONACO also advised the Federal Government to carry out an overhaul of the entire anti-fraud institutions, including the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, and the Code of Conduct Bureau, their laws and structures.

ANPP, Secretary in Kano state, Comrade Rabiu Bako told Daily Sun that all along Ribadu had been guilty of shielding a few corrupt persons in country, many of whom were friends and family members of Obansajo, while at the same time unleashing gangster terror on those perceived as opponents of the previous government.
Bako said that Ribadu and his team would best be remembered for offering the anti-crime organization to then President, as an institute to fight his personal wars with his enemies at the expense of the constitutional roles of a fair, fearless and objective corruption fighting body.

“Their identification, prosecution and judgment on who is a corrupt person were rather too selective. They were not exactly after all those who had erred and soiled their fingers. Should they have been so, the first shot would have been at the very doorpost of Mr. Gbenga Obasanjo, but they didn’t. Were they objective and fair, they would have long invited former President Obasanjo for a simple but crucial questioning, which they didn’t.’ he said.
Member House of Representatives, representing Wase Federal Constituency, Plateau State, Alhaji Ahmed Idris, backed the redeployment, describing the movement of Ribadu to the Kuru for one year course as very important, as officials of the anti-graft agency needed to be sent on training to have them well grounded in the area of their specialisation.

Idris said that with the series of complaints about the way and manner EFCC, under Ribadu, was operating, it was very important to send him and his officers on training to get them acquainted with what is expected of them with the position they occupy.

Oshiomhole, on his part, in a statement on Monday night, declared: “The government cannot expect Nigerians to just accept the deployment of Mr. Ribadu to NIPSS as a routine development.”
While conceding that no person was indispensable, Oshiomhole, however, argued that the dynamic leadership Ribadu had provided to the EFCC made a qualitative difference and has endeared the body to the generality of Nigerians and the international community.

He said: “Therefore, by deploying him to NIPSS, the government had not given sufficient consideration to the sensitivity of the work of the EFCC and the hopes which the generality of Nigerians place on it.”
He said the government ought to be persuaded by the fact that Ribadu will be more useful to Nigeria at the EFCC rather than in NIPSS, adding that he should be allowed to oversee the full crystallization of the EFCC by spending his full term as chairman.
Oshiomhole called on the president to cause Ribadu’s deployment to NIPSS to be deferred in the public interest.

“ Nigeria ’s number one problem is corruption. It requires a strong resolve on the part of the leadership as well as tough measures, active anti-corruption institutions and purposeful leadership, the type of which Ribadu has obviously provided,” he said.
The Vice Chairman of the Senate Anti-Corruption Committee, Senator Dahiru Kuta described the removal of Ribadu as a bad omen for Nigeria in the emerging year, as corruption in high places might reincarnate in the shortest time to come.

Kuta noted that “the removal of Ribadu from EFCC was nothing short of a political vendetta being perpetrated by those who saw him as a threat in their empire of corruption”.
He insisted that “Ribadu’s study leave was neither necessary nor was it initiated in good faith, going by the fact that it has come only this time when Nigeria needed him most”.

According to him, “the displacement of this crime bust and promising police officer, I can assure, is not unconnected with the crisis of power-interest he had with the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and to me this is rather petty and unfortunate”.
Another reason for Ribadu’s forced exit, Kuta noted, was “because of the much conceived suspicion that Ribadu was implementing former President Obasanjo’s selective justice and Obasanjo is no more in power, they now want to have him frustrated, demoralized and incapacitated.”

He said that edging out Ribadu would spell doom to the country “because Ribadu is a rare breed policeman and all of us will definitely loose his qualitative service, and in the end, even those who have removed him are going to regret their action, quote me”.

Asked whether it was only Ribadu that could manage the EFCC among the 140 million Nigerians, Senator Kuta said: “Look, I am not just a member of the Senate Committee on Anti- Corruption, I am the Vice Chairman. You should know that I know exactly what I am talking about. There is no bias, no speculations or hanky-panky in my assertions, take it or leave it, this is a ruinous move”.

Also answering question on the issue, the Senate Deputy Majority Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba said that the study leave was just one of the official procedures provided for those in public, especially those in regimented service like Ribadu who is in the police force”.

Insisting that he was speaking as a Senator of the Federal Republic, Senator Ndoma-Egba said there was no need for people to raise alarm on the issue “because the same fellow could be redeployed to the same office after his studies in Kuru, if Mr. President so wishes. So what is the big deal there?”
Prof Utomi, speaking through his media aide, Kila Odunayo, said the exit of Ribadu from the EFCC Ribadu is an example of the kind of leaders the country’s institutions should have. “It is bad if we choose a critical point such as this to remove him.”

He said: “For the sake of millions of suffering Nigerians that bear the impact of corrupt-leadership; our so-called political leaders, constitutional rights lawyers, etc should keep their perfidious opinions to themselves on this particular issue,” he said in reaction to a comment by Chief Bisi Akande.

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