Posted by By Henry Umahi on
These are not the best of times for Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
These are not the best of times for Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Just as the reality of his controversial removal from the exalted position as boss of the anti-graft agency was beginning to sink in, another sucker punch landed. He was demoted from the rank of Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) to Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP). One hundred and thirty-nine other senior officers were affected by the demotion.
Justifying the drop in ranks, chairman of Police Service Commission, DIG Parry Osayande (retd), explained that the special promotions given to the demoted officers were not based on established criteria and therefore, a total breach of section 153 of the 1999 constitution and the Police Service Commission Act 2001.
Whereas Ribadu’s supporters canvass the opinion that he was the prime target of the demotion exercise, the PSC argued that those affected enjoyed irregular promotions and without due recourse to the body that has the statutory responsibility to effect it.
To be sure, Ribadu’s accelerated promotion caused disaffection in the police. Just as the late Fela, the mythical iconoclast and Afrobeat maestro, would have said, he jumped over and above his mates. For instances, while Ibrahim Lamorde, the former Director of Operations at the EFCC, who was Ribadu’s course mate, was an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), the latter perched at the podium of AIG.
Analysts aver that Ribadu enjoyed the spectacular leap in his career, especially the multiple promotions, while serving as anti-fraud czar, because of his special relationship with former President Olusegun Obasanjo. They argue that although the Adamawa State-born police officer started well, as the EFCC chairman, along the line he derailed.
He was caught in the web of politics inevitably generated by the anti-corruption war of the past regime. At a stage, it became obvious that the agency had transformed to an attack dog of government unleashed on perceived opponents. For instance, while Obasanjo and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar flexed muscles, at the tail end of their regime, Ribadu and EFCC joined the fray.
The Ribadu traducers assert that history is exposing the make-up of his war against corruption as recent revelations of various probe panels show. While the then EFCC boss told who ever cared that he was keeping his ear to the ground, with regard to exposing Obasanjo if he perceived a whiff of corruption around him, it is now known that the picture he painted of the retired army general was contrived after all.
To rub it in, Yomi Odunuga “asked, “why, for instance, should Ribadu make a song and dance of the arrest and prosecution of corrupt governors when he discreetly withdrew and resold the two hundred million shares his boss’ firm bought in Transcorp?”
However, Ribadu is not the first officer to enjoy such rapid promotion. This is the uninformed argument of his supports. Examined critically, it is a patently unproductive argument.
For instance, the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mike Okiro, is alleged to have been promoted from the rank of CP to DIG. However, the fact of the matter is that promotions to the rank of Inspector General of Police and Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) are political. Besides, when Okiro was promoted, the Police Service Commission was not in place. Therefore, the Okiro’s case is different from Ribadu’s, as the latter was promoted when the Police Service Commission was in place and had the responsibility of ratifying such promotion.
A competent source told Saturday Sun, “when Okiro was promoted to DIG, there was no police commission. It was not in place at all, unlike now that the commission is bestowed with the statutory responsibility to do so. Moreover, every geo-political zone must have a DIG. Usually, the most senior officer from the zone is promoted to DIG.
“Okiro was the most senior officer from the South South. So, he benefited from that arrangement. And so did Ogbonnaya Onove from South East, who was promoted because he was the most senior officer from the South East. The truth is that a clear case of injustice, which brought about indicipline, agitations and disillusionment of officers of the NPF, has been corrected with the demotion of Ribadu and others.”
The sources maintained that those who were against Ribadu going for a capacity building course at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), arguing that he was not under the IG, are also the same people shouting about his demotion, which he said shows the hypocrisy and inconsistency in their interest.
Interestingly, with Ribadu’s demotion, he is no longer qualified to remain as one the participants of Senior Executive Course 30 of the NIPSS. How the matter will be resolved is left to be seen.
It was gathered that Ribadu was number 129 in the DCP staff list of June 20, 2006. His promotion from DCP to CP and AIG was effected with less than two years apart in each rank and do not have Police Service Commission letters. Ribadu, with police number AP 25105, enlisted in the force on February 1, 1986. He was promoted ACP in February 2004. On October 1, 2005, he became DCP. He became a CP on December 18, 2006 and AIG on April 9, 2007. Demotion however, came his way on August 5, 2008.
Guidelines for promotion in the police
The Police Service Commission guideline for promotion in the police says: “On the job promotion is one of the ways through which every corporate organization rewards its workforce. When promotions are given to deserving individuals based on merit and a procedure that is open and transparent, it encourages hard work and healthy competition in the workplace. However, when promotion processes and procedures are fundamentally flawed, opaque and absurd, most of the benefits turn into deficits and threats to the progress of the organization.
“These guidelines for promotion are based on the following principles: merit, recognition of hierarchy, decentralization, regularity (annual), committee-based (establishment of appraisal and promotion committees); fairness; openness; provide opportunities for redress; federal character principle as established by the Federal Character Commission shall be reflected in promotions and must be strictly adhered to in the promotion of all senior officers in the Nigeria Police Force.”
The guideline stated that for a police officer to be promoted to Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) to Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), the officer must have put in a minimum of three years as ACP, must have attended and passed “C” course with a score of at least 60 percent; must have good annual performance evaluation report over a period of three years with the classification in categories A and B.
The guidelines say that officers in specialist branches of the police must obtain grades A or B or C in their specialist fields and A, B and C in their knowledge of general duties to be promoted. The officer must have attended and passed ACP-DCP promotion interview. Thereafter, the Police Service Commission would then conduct oral and/or written interview before approval of promotion.
Also, the guideline recognized that there may be promotion in exceptional cases. For an officer to benefit for this, the guideline says: “Recommendations for promotion to higher ranks in the police in exceptional cases shall be based on exceptional performance’ gallantry and bravery and exceptional service to the community.
The procedure to follow is: “Recommendations for exceptional promotions in such circumstances shall be made to the Police Service Commission through the State Appraisal Promotions Committees and the national appraisal Promotions Committees as appropriate. There shall not be more than one special promotion (promotion in exceptional circumstances) for any one officer within three year period.”
From the forgoing guidelines, due process was not followed in the promotion of Ribadu from DCP to CP and then to AIG.
Against the backdrop of his demotion to a step that is three times below his level, there are speculations that resignation appears an option to be considered by Ribadu.
Considering that he had stepped on many toes when he ascended the Olympian height as well as the damage to his ego, observers contend that the most honourable path left for him to tread is to kiss the force goodbye.
Again, considering the makeup of the man, as evidenced by his seeming disdain to the virtue of humility, it might not be out of character for Ribadu to attempt to pull some people down with him. Having realized that he has been dispensed with, as it were, some analyst are therefore of the view that spilling the beans cannot be ruled out. But does Ribadu have the balls to fight dirty? Can he stand the heat that such action would generate?
Why he can’t quit
Saturday Sun check revealed that doing that would tantamount to cutting his nose to spite his face. To start with, it was gathered that a hefty dossier on Ribadu is waiting to be unwrapped.
“There is a large realm of incriminating documents against him. You know, he is not exactly what he wanted people to believe about him. It is the same impression Obasanjo created but now we know the truth. Any attempt by Ribadu to act smart by way of trying to blackmail some people will spell doom for him,” obliged a reliable source at Force Headquarters, Louis Edet House, Abuja.
Some public affairs advocates also see resignation as courting trouble. Indeed, Saturday Sun was informed that what happened was a trap set for Ribadu to walk into. The source indicates that the powers-that-be were waiting to pounce on Ribadu the moment he throws in his letter of resignation from the force.
Already people are calling for the account of the EFCC to be audited since inception. Others want the activities of the EFCC, especially the selling of assets of those arrested and prosecuted to be examined. It is believed that gigantic skeletons will be exposed in the process.
A very reliable source squealed to Saturday Sun that Ribadu’s sins go beyond descending into the realm of dirty politics and deposition, saying that much was not done well in the EFCC under his leadership.
A source close to EFCC revealed that Ribadu’s handling of the sale of Tafa Balogun’s property left so much to be desired. In fact, it is believed that if the lid is removed, the stench that will assail the nose will be palpable.
In the same vein, the handling of the sale of the assets of former Bayelsa State governor, DSP Alamasieyegha left a lot of question marks. Ditto Charles Nwude’s. Indeed, Nwude had raised an alarm over how his multimillion property were disposed for pittance to favoured buyers.
It was gathered that the management consultants engaged by EFCC under Ribadu to run Chelsea Hotel, Abuja, one of the assets seized from Alameyeseigha has not made any remittances to the agency since the deal was struck. And when the new leadership of the EFCC called for the account, Saturday Sun learnt, the management consultants explained that N50 million or thereabout had been realized, adding however that more than the amount was needed to renovate the crumbling edifice.
Position of pro-Ribadu activists
Those condemning the misfortune of the former EFCC boss say that powerful forces he would offended are taking their pound of flesh. They believe that his removal as EFCC chairman and now demotion were aimed at killing the corruption war. However, the activities of the EFCC since the new helmsman assumed office put a lie to this. In the last couple of weeks, the EFCC has arrested and arraigned many prominent politicians, including former governors and associates of Obasanjo.
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