Legal luminary, Professor Ben Nwabueze, has said the attack on him last week by the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, was only a reaction to what he (Nwabueze) wrote about him in his new book.
Nwabueze said what he fought against during Ribadu’s time at the EFCC was the vendetta war waged against Nigerians by the then President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, using the instrumentalities of the Commission.
Ribadu said last week that Nwabueze and some senior lawyers did not want the EFCC to succeed in its anti-corruption war, when he (Ribadu) was the Chairman of EFCC.
Reacting to this claims, Nwabueze in a statement he personally signed, said Ribadu was playing to gallery to curry favour with the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration,
Nwabueze said: ”My attention has been drawn to what Mallam Nuhu Ribadu said about me at a lecture organised by the Law Chambers of Joe Kyari Gadzama on Thursday December 1, 2016 on the theme, ‘Corruption and the Nigerian Economy: Lawyers as Change Agents.; He said, among other things, that I, with others, teamed up with politicians to frustrate and undermine the country’s efforts to fight corruption, and to discredit the work he, as chairman of the EFCC, was doing in prosecuting the war.
”Apparently, Nuhu Ribadu was reacting, as he is entitled to do, to what I wrote about him in my book, ‘Current Issues and Problems in the Workings of Constitutional Democracy in Nigeria (2011), pages 92 – 101, titled Subversions of the Constitution by Nuhu Ribadu in the name of the War Against Corruption.
”What the public expects of Nuhu Ribadu is, not just to whip up sentiments in favour of himself, to play to the gallery or to curry favours with the Buhari Administration, but to adduce concrete evidence in rebuttal of the facts stated in my write-up, in order to show that his impugned actions as Chairman of the EFCC are not subversive of the Nigerian Constitution, and what positive effect his subversive actions have had in curbing or eradicating the rampancy of corruption in Nigeria.
“The position which I have consistently maintained, and will continue to maintain, is that we should fight corruption relentlessly but that a total war on the cankerworm unrestrained by constitutional limitations on power is fraught with the danger of the emergence of personal rule.
“These are the exact words I used to express my position in my latest book, The National Question and Corruption (2016), chapter 10, pages 179 – 193.”
He continued: ”In the section of the chapter headed Final Remarks, I stated : In terms of checking, reducing or eradicating the incidence of corruption in the country, the truth is that, far from being checked, reduced or eradicated, corruption has vastly increased in its incidence despite the subversions of the Constitution ostensibly in the name of the war against it.
“This shows that Obasanjo’s and Ribadu’s so-called war is nothing but a futile and ill-motivated vendetta against opponents.
“Perhaps, something needs to be said about certain assets claimed by Obasanjo and Ribadu to have been recovered. The findings of a committee that probed the sale of properties found to have been corruptly acquired by former Inspector-General of Police, Tafa Balogun, and former Governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, revealed, according to report of its findings published in Saturday Independent of May 15, 2010, that the sale was irregularly conducted, as no proper valuation of the properties was carried out and as other requirements of due process under the law were not followed; that of the nine buyers of the Tafa Balogun properties, six, whose names were stated as limited liability companies, were in fact non-existent, as they were not registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission; that the proceeds of the sale were paid into an unauthorised account, instead of into the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation as required by Section 31(2) of the EFCC Act 2004; that the receipts of the lodgment of the proceeds were not deposited with the Auditor-General of the Federation in accordance with Financial Regulation 2520; that some cheques and bank drafts received in payment of part of the proceeds of the sales were left in the vaults of the EFCC where they remained and became stale. Above all, figures as to exactly how much was realised from the sales are conflicting, as no proper record was kept”, he said.