Though the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Chairman, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, has said that the attempt to send him on a course was a plot by the presidency and the Police Inspector General to remove him from his chairmanship position, Times of Nigeria has been told by sources at the Police Headquarters that Ribadu actually applied to go on that course.
Police IG, Mike Okiro
Another source at the Presidential Villa in Abuja said that Ribadu sent in the application in the dying days of the Obasanjo administration, when there were moves to make him the Inspector General of Police. One of the criticisms against him then was that he had not attended the War College or the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies NIPSS, Kuru, near Jos. To make up for that failure, it was planned that Ribadu should attend the prestigious institute, but for six months only. Owing to that understanding, Ribadu reportedly applied to attend the Kuru course. Now, the authorities simply granted Ribadu’s old request to proceed on that course.
This time, the equation has changed; it is not only that there is a change of administration, Ribadu too, is said to be afraid that if he is made to leave the EFCC seat, the next Police officer that would occupy it, no matter how fleetingly, may give in to growing demands that his activities be scrutinized.
Speaking to Times of Nigeria, a Deputy Inspector-General of Police, who wishes to remain anonymous, said that “this Ribadu episode has brought shame on the Nigeria Police Force. Haba journalist, have you ever seen where a junior officer would be openly abusing the Police IG? Haba! This is the problem that being in government brought on the military; people get to hold political offices and they make so much money that it begins to get into their heads, and they begin to disobey their superior officers. That is what is exactly playing out now. And you journalists do not know when you are being manipulated: Ask Ribadu whether he has ever been a DPO (Divisional Police Officer) in his entire life? Go ahead and ask him. Let him come back to the Police Force and meet us.
He continued: “Tell those journalists who are induced to write nonsense if they do not know that recently, piles of petition against Ribadu has been pouring into the Presidency. So the man does not want to leave that post. But is any position for life? Have other Police officers not left the Force to head specialized agencies or to even be State Governors?
“You journalists who write nonsense about plots to remove Ribadu should ask yourselves why somebody would want to die in a post, and so is ready to blackmail the President, The Police IG, etc, just so that he could keep his job? Once somebody starts doing that in the Police, we know that he wants to hide something. That is when we begin to look deeper into the person’s affairs. The petitions are pouring in and Ribadu cannot postpone the day of reckoning. Nigerians should ask themselves how many police officers have houses overseas”.
For a few days now, there has been a major controversy over almost nothing as it centered on only whether Ribadu is about to proceed for a course at NIPSS. NIPSS is about the most prestigious institution in Nigeria as its alumni are at the topmost level of governance and influence in Nigeria. The alumni are about the most respected “exclusive club in Nigeria”. A source said that under the military, to deny an officer the chance of attending NIPSS is to deny him the chance of becoming a General. He pointed out that many soldiers voluntarily retired from their posts just so that they could attend the Kuru institute.
The Presidency source told The Times of Nigeria that the President and his aides were angered by the leak in the media that Ribadu’s impending study leave was a plot weaken the agency. The report in yesterday’s Thisday newspaper was said to be the final straw that spurred the President into action. The source said the President believed that the report in Thisday was leaked by EFCC operatives.
“That has been the most guided secret of the Christmas period in Nigeria. The leakage of that by then yet to be concluded arrangement, and the claims that Ribadu was being removed from the EFCC just because the Presidency did not support his anti-corruption fight has seemingly hurt, rather than help Ribadu this time. Now the Presidency has taken this latest action as blackmail.” The source concluded.