Posted by From ERIC OSAGIE and DENNIS MERNYI, Abuja on
Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, has raised alarm over discovery of strange juju objects in his residence....
Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, has raised alarm over discovery of strange juju objects in his residence, even as he alleged that his life is severely being threatened in the course of his job.
In an exclusive interview with Daily Sun in Abuja, Ribadu vowed never to be deterred, even if it means laying down his life. ďI donít care if I pay the supreme price in order to get the job done. Itís the price we have to pay for our country. Coming to the issue of juju, you know itís been on for a while, it is not just now it started. But only recently, there has been upsurge in it and we see all sorts of fetish things, dead animals, dead cats thrown around.
Sometimes, we see unusual movements around the house and office. Just yesterday, you heard my secretary found juju in her own drawer in the office, a dead rat right inside her own desk. Even here in my office, there are couple of things you see that are very funny. It is just the desperation of people.Ē
The EFCC helmsman said he was aware he had annoyed many people in his desire to do things right and track down criminally minded Nigerians.
The encounter with Ribadu...
You mean some people want to get you at all cost?
Naturally, and it is understandable. There are a lot of people, some of them totally misguided, people who are not getting the facts properly and correctly. Others who feel threatened will now believe that we are obstacles to their own ambition and unfortunately, sometimes, they take it very personal and itís normal and natural that when you come and say you want to do things properly and correctly, those who disagree and those who are reponsible for those bad things in the past and want to continue with it will not be very happy. Because they feel threatened and that it is a direct attack on them. And they will fight back. But it is a war out there. And we are confident we can counter them.
Where do you think the threat to your life and that of your family is coming from? Do you have an idea?
We think we know. But it is not something that we want disclosed or published.
We learnt through your media aide that some groups have been sending text messages to you threatening your life. Is it true?
Yesterday, yes, there were some text messages bordering on direct threat to my life, from an organisation called Niger Delta something, threatening to kill and maim and also making allegations against me about acquisition of properties all over the world and so on and so forth. But this is total rubbish. They are hoping that maybe through that, they will be able to break our spirit and hopefully give them breathing space to escape justice. But it will not work. It has never worked and it will not work in our own case.
So, they were asking for the release of Alamieyeseigha?
They are asking for the release of Alamieyeseigha. But I am telling you, from our experience in law enforcement, particularly the work we are doing, it might be a diversion. It might probably be a different set of people. Because they know you have details in every sector or area. They will always come under a completely different guise to divert your attention, but we know a lot more than that. We have things to understand what is going on around us. We have the technology that can support the work we are doing.
You are not scared at all for yourself?
Not at all. Not at all and absolutely no! no!
What about your family? You must be worried?
I think the family will have to understand what they have. It has got to the point, my relations donít even stay in my own quarters. Even though I stay in a very small place, people donít even visit me.
You are taking a suicidal job as far as they are concerned?
That is what they think. But a job is a job, you have to do your job. And there are jobs involving risks and indeed sometimes risks to life. Jobs involving sometimes being a soldier or a policeman is a direct risk.
They also alleged about your acquiring properties all over?
You know that has been going on that I have properties all over.Indeed they are even saying that I am not even entitled to own a house, a personal house to myself and talking rubbish about me buying N80million house which is laughable. But that does not mean that I am not entitled to any house. I have worked all my life and I donít think I am different from, for example, the 40 thousand Nigerians who are entitled to own houses if what they are saying is that as an individual, I donít even deserve to have one house in my life to call my own where I can live with my own family.
Even though I am the Chief Executive of a constitutional commission in Nigeria and so on, and so I do not merit it or I should not have a family, I think that is what they mean. Simply because of what I am doing, I should be denied the basic requirement of life itself. That Nuhu Ribadu is not entitled to have a house where he can live. Truthfully, that is what they are saying and I think this is ridiculous.
Does this worry you?
Sometimes itís frustrating. Sometimes, it makes you feel whether anything you are doing is worth the trouble. You have made so much sacrifices in your life...
Do you suspect that some politicians want to get you out of the way especially now that 2007 is coming nearer?
You know clearly that is exactly what is happening. You know what we are involved in.We are attacking the powerful, the rich. We are going after those who misused their own offices, those who acquired so much wealth. We have people in custody with hundreds and millions of dollars. We have seized it and refunded it to government. We have people who have 20, 30 houses in Abuja alone. We have those who believe that we are going after them and they are not happy.
And alsoyou have said you are going to screen aspirants and all that?
Yes, even though this may be taking it too far, what we really said is that anybody who wants to contest should more or less open himself for scrutiny by law enforcement and this includes EFCC.And that is what is going on or happening all over the world. What is wrong with that? If we do not do this clearing exercise how can we get clean people into government? How can we ever get honest people to run our own affairs?
Sometimes we read that the agency is going to be used to disqualify perceived enemies of the present government. You are even quoted as saying you will probe IBB and Atiku?
I have never mentioned anybody by name. I have never and please take it from me, I have never mentioned anyone by name. I said people who are hoping to aspire for public offices should be scrutinised and also of course when you are faced with competing interest what you say will be misinterpreted differently. You will be shocked that people in government see it as if we are purposely there to work against them. Some of the candidates who somehow people believe are close to government are more or less our biggest targets and it has been public. If we want to be honest about it, you will know what I am talking about.
What precautions are you taking now that there is a threat to your life?
What I can do is to do what I believe is the right thing and do it honestly and publicly. There is nothing that is going to check the activities of EFCC or any other organisation rather than to make it open and transparent and accountable. Whatever we do the whole public will see it, will judge. And there is no other way you can protect yourself other than whatever you do let it be known, let it be public. Nothing kangaroo, nothing behind the scenes.
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