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Senate okays Ribadu’s exit

Posted by By ISMAIL OMIPIDAN, Abuja on 2008/01/26 | Views: 374 |

Senate okays Ribadu’s exit

The Senate on Wednesday sealed the fate of the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, when it approved his exit from the anti-graft commission. It directed the acting chairman of the body, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, to appear before it at a later date.

• There’re fraudsters in National Assembly – Senator Aliyu

The Senate on Wednesday sealed the fate of the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, when it approved his exit from the anti-graft commission. It directed the acting chairman of the body, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, to appear before it at a later date.

This came on the heels of allegation by former Deputy Inspector General of Police and Chairman, Senate Committee on Security, Senator Nuhu Aliyu, that there are fraudsters masquerading as the country’s lawmakers in the National Assembly.

The Senate’s decision on Ribadu’s exit followed a motion moved by Senator Sola Akinyede, chairman of the Senate Committee on the EFCC, who said that the upper legislative chambers should be bold enough to take a stand on the matter.
Contributing to the debate, Senator Smart Adeyemi said: “We should disabuse our mind of the fact that without an individual, the nation cannot move forward. We should be courageous enough to clear the air on whether Ribadu should go or not. And if he is going, let him go so that we have a substantive chairman. If he must go, let’s say so once and for all. I believe we have many Nigerians who will do better than Ribadu.”

Also speaking, Senator Joseph Akargerger argued that the motion was meant to massage the ego of Ribadu, saying that the comments made by some senators were capable of sending a wrong signal to the acting EFCC chairman.
He said: “We may be running away from the fact, but the fact remains that this motion is brought because of one individual. And by so doing we are sending a potential danger to the individual who has now taken over, that he can’t step into Ribadu’s shoes. I don’t believe that the tempo of the war against corruption was being modulated. I will encourage us to have faith in the system.”

Senator Chris Anyanwu said: “EFCC (under Ribadu) was used to carry out illegal impeachments. Inasmuch as we would want those governors to answer for their sins, carrying out illegal impeachment was not the solution. Yar’Adua needs to shape the EFCC in his own image. In the process, there is need for him to clean up the place, inject new people into the place.

“We don’t want too much posturing in the media. If they were able to punish and see to the end half of the cases they have established, they would have done this nation good. But looking at the motion itself, it was based on external influences. We don’t need outsiders to tell us what is good for us.”
Senator Bassey Ewa-Henshaw argued that to allow Ribadu’s exit pass without any attempt to reverse it would amount to vesting the powers to remove him in the hands of the of Inspector-General of Police, a situation he noted had no place in the Act establishing the EFCC.

Like Senator Uche Chukwumerije, Ewa-Henshaw advised that the Senate take another look at the Act establishing the EFCC so that even the president, in future, would not have the power to remove the EFCC boss.

Senator Lee Maeba accused the Judiciary of slowing down the war against corruption by granting long adjournments with respect to the on-going trials of some former governors.
At the end, the Senate asked the acting chairman of the EFCC to appear before it at a date to be determined later, to brief senators on the status of the commission’s activities and its plans to ensure that the war against corruption was sustained. The Senate also urged the executive arm to remain steadfast in its commitment to the war against corruption.

Meanwhile, Senator Aliyu stirred the hornet’s nest once again on Wednesday when he said that some fraudsters are in the National Assembly.
Speaking while contributing to the debate on the “Direction and tempo of war on corruption,” moved by Senator Sola Akinyede and 16 other senators, Aliyu said it was disheartening that he was rubbing shoulders in the National Assembly with criminals, who only became legislators because of the kind of system the country operates.

Senator Aliyu said: “I totally agree with the motion. Both Nuhu (Ribadu) and Lamorde served under me. We made him chairman, as Assistant Commissioner of Police when the original Act establishing EFCC says the chairman should be an AIG (but the Act was later amended to accommodate Ribadu).
“Everybody wearing the rank of AIG must go to Kuru. Before the advent of EFCC, Nigerians were hitherto seen as 419ners. In this National Assembly, we still have 419ners.”

He had hardly concluded that sentence when Senator Ayogu Eze raised a point of order that bordered on privilege, where he argued, among other things, that the statement made by Senator Aliyu impugned not only on his integrity but also that of his other colleagues, including Senate President David Mark.
Relying on Order 15, he urged the Senate to cause Senator Nuhu Aliyu to name the fraudsters or retract his statement.

Aliyu insisted that he was not going to withdraw his statement. Instead, he offered to name just one out of the series of the fraudsters in the National Assembly.
As he was about to talk again, Senator Awaisu Kuta rushed forward, apparently to prevail on him from mentioning names.

Ruling on the matter, Mark referred the matter to the Ethics and Privileges Committee of the Senate for further investigation, with a mandate to report back in two weeks time.
However, throwing his weight behind Senator Aliyu, Senate Deputy Minority Whip, Kabiru Gaya said: “This is a serious issue. If we must be seen to be fighting corruption, we must start with ourselves. If we have to set good examples in this direction, I want to see progress in the work of the committee in the next two weeks.”

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