The removal of Mallam Nuhu Ribadu as chairman of Nigeria’s anti corruption agency, Economic and Financial crimes Commission (EFCC), is getting messier by the day as those opposed to him continue to churn out allegations of misconduct and financial impropriety against him.
Now the battle against Ribadu has shifted to the purchase of his private residence said to be valued at two hundred and fifty million naira (N250m). The house located at Aso Drive in the upscale area of Abuja right in the same neighborhood with the Presidential Villa was the official residence of former Inspector General of Police Mr. Sunday Ehindero. Ehindero used the house when he was still a Deputy Inspector General of police.
According a petition before the Presidency, though Ribadu bought the house and uses it as his private residence, it was purchase through his father in law Professor Iya Abubakar. The Presidency source insists that the potential for damage to government’s anticorruption drive and the need to prevent same also contributed to Ribadu’s removal as head of the agency.
Another source at the Presidency told The Times of Nigeria that there are many forces that worked against Ribadu because of the way he carried out his responsibilities during the tenure of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
“The way he disrespected former Vice President Abubarkar Atiku has not endeared him to many people. I hope you do realize that the former VP and Yar’Adua have been having discussions on how to move the country forward. Part of the discussion may be that Ribadu be dropped for the obvious ways he was used to wage war against Atiku.”The source said.
Additionally, the source said that Ribadu’s second term in office is still in doubt as his reappointment by former President Obasanjo in the dying days of his administration was never received the blessing of the Senate as stipulated by the EFCC Act.
“The EfCC act requires that the president appoints the Chairman of the Commission with the clearance and approval of the Senate of the Federal Republic. This was fulfilled in his first tenure of four years but for his reappointment for a second tenure, which reappointment was surreptitiously done in the twilight days of the Obansanjo administration, no reference was made to the Senate.
“This has left a legal loophole for the collapse of all the cases the agency has filed against those the agency has charged to court, as defense lawyers are set to rubbish the cases on the legal competence of Ribadu to operate in the capacity of chairman of the agency, having not been presented to and cleared by the Senate for appointment to a second term of office as required by law” according to the Presidency source.
However, Nuhu Ribadu is not taking his removal kindly. His sympathizers, mostly members of the media and the Human Rights community are pushing for a reversal of his removal.
Our investigations revealed that a few days ago, Ribadu in the company of business mogul Aliko Dangote and Andy Uba, former special assistant to and hatchet man of Obasanjo regime, visited the former President in his Ota farm residence and pleaded for his intervention with President Yar’Adua for Ribadu’s reinstatement, arguing before Obasanjo that Ribadu’s removal was to pave way for the appointment of an EFCC chairman who will subsequently be used to investigate the numerous petitions against him and his family members and business associates and possibly prosecute them. They succeeded and Obasanjo has quickly secured an appointment to see Yar’Adua on New Year ’s Day to plead for the reversal of Nuhu Ribadu’s removal as head of EFCC.