"My removal as EFCC Chairman was to destroy the anti-graft agency" – Nuhu Ribadu

A former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, on Sunday said he was removed from office in order to destroy the anti-graft agency.

He said his removal came a few days after operatives of the EFCC arrested and charged an ex-Delta State Governor, Chief James Ibori, to court for corruption.

Ribadu, who spoke on Frontline, a current affairs programme on the African Independent Television, said he pitied the current leadership of the commission.

Ribadu said, “When I was removed from the EFCC, they brought people with the intention to destroy the work of the EFCC.

“It is easy to destroy than to build. I pity the people who are in EFCC today because they are coming after the people who destroyed it.

“When you fight corruption, it will fight back. We saw that corruption fought back at the end of 2007 in Nigeria when corruption took over, when the leadership of Nigeria embraced corruption and they were ready to fight those who were fighting corruption and replaced those who were fighting corruption with corrupt people to turn things upside down.

“Nigerians must remember that it was (Michael) Aondoakaa who was the Attorney-General of the Federation as at that time. I don’t need to say anything in addition.”

He said the commission under Waziri was able to do this for three years with the connivance of Aondoakaa and people like Ibori. Ribadu said, “They did that for three years. They reversed everything that was good. The first thing they did was to withdraw the prosecutorial powers of the EFCC.

“With the Aondoakaas of this world and the Iboris, they were happy they took over. They took over the cases we had and destroyed them. I don’t want to be repeating these things. These are very sad developments, very unfortunate in the history of our country.”

He said it was unfortunate that the then Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mike Okiro, nominated him for a course at the Nigeria Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies when he took Ibori to court.

He said the $15m with which the former governor tried to bribe him remained with the Central Bank of Nigeria. “That money remains with the CBN up till now. Suddenly, five days after I charged him (Ibori) to court, I was asked to go to NIPSS, Kuru. It was Okiro who did that. Of course, he did not do that alone,” Ribadu added.

Before his removal from the commission, Ribadu said there were two attempts aimed at eliminating him, adding that scars of bullets fired at him were still on his car till today.

He said, “I was removed from the EFCC; they attempted to kill me twice. I still have bullets holes stain on my car.

“There was no place for me to stay then. They tried to get anything that could be used to nail me. They investigated me in and out, but they could not get anything wrong that I did to charge me. It took them one year to look at everything they could imagine but they could not charge me.”

He said because of the attempt on his life and his ordeal in the Nigeria Police Force, he decided to go abroad, having been offered jobs by two agencies.