There are indications that former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes commission (EFCC) Mallam Nuhu Ribadu is coming back to head the anti graft body.
Scoop from the Presidential Villa revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari is disposed to reappointing the tough talking anti graft czar, who during his tenure fought corruption with every zeal.
Investigations by The Street Journal indicated, Buhari may have come under pressure to reappoint Ribadu in order to give the commission a breath of fresh air.
Sources from the Villa told this paper that the United States of America, among other foreign bodies, are mounting pressures on Buhari to bring back the erstwhile chairman, because of their belief that during his time, he was able to fight corruption to a standstill.
The sources further revealed that some of these foreign bodies are tying their cooperation with Nigeria to bringing back the Adamawa born police officer. “They (foreign countries) have pointedly told Buhari to bring back Ribadu to help fight corruption before they can render any aid to the country because they believe that corruption is the bane of Nigeria. They are piling pressure on the President and it is likely the President will bend backward to bring in Ribadu again”, said one source.
Another source said it was already a done deal. “Yes, Ribadu is coming back to head EFCC again, I think it is almost foreclose thing”, he said.
Ribadu was the pioneer Executive Chairman of EFCC. President Olusegun Obasanjo first appointed Ribadu to the chairmanship of the EFCC in 2003 and reappointed him in 2007, as well as promoting him to the position of Assistant Inspector General of Police.
The promotion on 9 April 2007, three weeks before newly elected President Umaru Yar’Adua was sworn-in, however, did not go down well with some of his colleagues who saw the double promotion as irregular.
He was later challenged on the basis that it was “illegal, unconstitutional, null and void, and of no legal effect.”
In December 2007 Mike Okiro, the then Inspector-General of Police, stated that Ribadu would be removed as EFCC chairman for a one-year training course.
On 4 August 2008, the Police Service Commission announced the demotion of Ribadu from Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) to Deputy Commissioner of Police.
Okiro ordered him to attend the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) in Kuru, Jos, Plateau State for a mandatory one-year course.
The decision was criticised by, among others, Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, House of Representatives members, and All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) national chairman Edwin Ume-Ezeoke as politically motivated and that it was likely to set back the fight against corruption.
On 22 November 2008, his graduation from the NIPSS Kuru, was aborted at the last minute. Mallam Ribadu, who was initially seated in the hall along with other graduands, was ordered out of the hall allegedly on orders from top administration officials. There were condemnations from all over the world for his treatment.
On 22 December 2008, as widely predicted, he was dismissed from the Nigerian Police force by the Nigerian Police Service Commission (PSC). He left Nigeria and in April assumed a fellowship at the Centre for Global Development, U K.
During his eventful career in the EFCC in 2006, Nuhu Ribadu told the BBC that over 380 billion dollars had been stolen or wasted by Nigerian governments since independence in 1960.
Under Ribadu’s administration, the EFCC charged prominent bankers, former as well as serving State governors, ministers, Senate Presidents, high-ranking political party members, Commissioners of Police, and advance fee fraud otherwise known as 419.
The EFCC issued thousands of indictments and achieved about 270 convictions. One notable case was that of the then Inspector-General of Police, Mr Tafa Balogun, who was convicted, jailed and made to return £150 million under a plea bargain.
Ribadu’s achievements in the EFCC included the de-listing of Nigeria from the FATF List of Non-Cooperative Countries & Territories, admission into the prestigious Egmont Group and the withdrawal of the US Treasury FINCEN Advisory on Nigeria. They helped make the EFCC the foremost Anti-Corruption Enforcement Agency on the continent, cementing Ribadu’s reputation in the world as a respected anti-corruption crusader.
Ribadu’s evidence helped prosecute foreign businesses who offered bribes while doing business in Nigeria.
However, Ribadu was accused of double standard and insincerity in his war against corruption. Many accused him of going after perceived enemies of the President Obasanjo, while shielding the friends of the former president.
He was also accused of corruption himself in that he failed to declare his assets.
Though his self-imposed exile his prosecution was stalled at the code of conduct tribunal. The government of President Goodluck Jonathan withdrew the case against him.
Ribadu was also accused to have bought Federal Government property for his in-law.
Notable among his critics was radical Lagos lawyer, Fetus Keyamo who described the withdrawal of charges against Ribadu as totally wrong, very insensitive, entirely unwise and ill-advised.
During the course of his duty Mr Ribadu was offered bribes to pervert the course of justice, among these was a State governor who was said to have offered Ribadu of $15 million and a house abroad.
On the BBC’s Hardtalk programme, Ribadu said that he took the money and used the bribe as evidence to prosecute the state governor.
Ribadu escaped two assassination attempts before he left the country for the United Kingdom in early 2009.[
In 2008, Nuhu Ribadu received the World Bank’s 2008 Jit Gill Memorial Award for Outstanding Public Service, for having led a courageous anti-corruption drive in Nigeria, as Head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
He was later, after his return from exile contested for the position of the president on the platform of Action Congress of Nigeria in 2011.
In the 2015 election he crossed over to Peoples Democratic Party to contest the governorship but did not scale primaries of the party/