Abuja â€” Former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Mallam Nuhu Ribadu has been reinstated as Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) and retired effective December 22, 2008.
A source at the Police Service Commission (PSC) confirmed last night that Ribadu had indeed been reinstated as AIG and retired effective from the date he was first sacked from the Police two years ago.
Ribadu was removed as EFCC Chairman and Mrs. Farida Waziri appointed in his stead in 2008. Subsequently, he was demoted by the PSC to a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DPC) and deployed in Benin, Edo State.
Following his refusal to report at his new post, he was sacked by the Police force. He took the PSC to court over the matter and then fled abroad on exile over alleged threat to his life.
THISDAY gathered that Ribadu’s reinstatement as AIG and retirement on that rank might not be unconnected to pressure from the international community and the Presidency.
A PSC quarterly meeting last Tuesday was halted barely 20 minutes into the meeting when Chairman of PSC Mr. Parry Osayande (rtd. DIG) was summoned to the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Osayande was said to have spent about one hour at the presidency after which he returned to the commission to continue with the meeting.
Upon his return, Osayande proceeded to introduce Ribadu’s matter on the agenda despite the fact that it was not listed for the meeting that was expected to last about six hours.
Osayande acknowledged that the PSC followed due process in the sack of Ribadu in 2008, but that in the light of “pressures from within and outside”, Ribadu should be given a soft landing.
But a number of commissioners at the meeting vehemently opposed the attempt to give Ribadu a soft-landing by reinstating him as AIG and retiring him.
The PSC Chairman was said to have pleaded with his colleagues that the presidency was under immense pressure from the international community, especially the United States and United Kingdom to grant Ribadu a reprieve on account of his worthy work as an anti-graft czar.
A motion to reinstate Ribadu as AIG and have him continue to work in the Police because “of the good things he will bring to bear on the Police,” was, however defeated.
A majority of the PSC commissioners present at last Tuesday’s meeting were said to have pointed out that Ribadu’s continued presence in the Police would not only have a demoralizing impact on the force, but would erode the credibility of the PSC and the Police command.
THISDAY learnt that the PSC was hamstrung because there was no letter backing Ribadu’s promotion as Commissioner of Police and then AIG.
It was gathered that the PSC then resolved to thread the road of “due process” like it did before in 2008.
Ribadu’s lawyers were urged to convince their client to turn in a letter pleading for a review of his demotion and sack. After a review of Ribadu’s letter, the PSC then proceeded to grant him a soft-landing by reinstating him as AIG and then confirming his dismissal as retirement.
THISDAY, however, gathered that the reinstatement and retirement of Ribadu has led to a “tug of war” in the PSC because some are pained that it is “illegal for a government carrying the banner of rule of law and due process”, to have caved into the pressure and have the commission reverse its earlier decision on the former EFCC boss.
“What about the 139 others who were dismissed alongside Ribadu. What then is their own fate?” a source queried yesterday.
THISDAY, however, gathered that Ribadu’s reinstatement as AIG and retirement has thus paved the way for a role in this government. It was not yet clear what role, the former anti-graft czar would be playing, though it has been speculated that he may be appointed an anti-crimes czar to oversee all the anti-corruption agencies such as the EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
His name has also been linked in the search for a replacement for the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof. Maurice Iwu whose tenure expires June 13.
Indications had emerged in February this year that Ribadu may have a role to play in this administration. When President Goodluck Jonathan travelled to the US on the invitation of Barack Obama last month, Ribadu was one of the few persons the President met with.
And only last month the Code of Conduct Tribunal dropped all the charges against Ribadu that he did not declare his assets.
Ribadu was in 2007 removed as EFCC Chairman after he ostensibly fell out with the “powers that be,” and was replaced by Waziri.
He was asked to proceed to the Nigeria Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) in Kuru, Jos. However, towards the end of his course, he was ordered to revert to the former rank of DCP. But at the completion of the course, he was not issued a certificate, and was forcibly dragged out of the graduation hall on account that he was not supposed to have attended the course in the first place.
Following his purported demotion, he was then posted to Benin. However, he defied the authorities by not showing up at his new posting.
Subsequently, he went into exile. He then proceeded to challenge his demotion from the rank of an AIG to a DCP by the PSC.
In a motion exparte filed before Justice Mustapha Abdullahi of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, Ribadu had said: “I fear for my safety and consequently seek the protection of the court as a matter, of utmost urgency.”
He said contrary to the August 5, 2008, letter from the PSC demoting him on the ground that he was promoted to the rank of AIG by former Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Sunday Ehindero, he was actually promoted by ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo on the recommendation of the IGP.
He sought for an order of the court granting him leave to issue originating summons and to serve same outside Lagos and Abuja.
Ribadu further argued that he was never given any opportunity to be represented and heard either verbally or in writing or through his solicitor by the PSC in the process of his purported demotion.
Ribadu’s counsel, Mr. Tayo Oyetibo (SAN) in moving the exparte motion filed by Mr. Charles Musa dated October 27, 2008 said the main reason for the action is to seek judicial protection for the safety of his client.
While he was in exile, the then Justice Constance Momoh-led three-man Code of Conduct Tribunal issued a bench warrant against him for failing to honour its invitation.
In September last year, Ribadu sneaked into the country in a dramatic fashion to pay homage condolences to the Fawehinmi over the death of Chief Gani Fawehinmi. He even went to the mortuary to pay his respects to the human rights activist.
Since then he has been doing the circus of delivering speeches and attending international conferences. He was invited to appear before the Congressional Committee on Foreign Relations.
The Waziri-led EFCC, also accused him of fraudulently benefiting from the sale of properties seized from convicted felons like former governor of Bayelsa State, Alamieyeseigha, former Inspector-General of Police, Tafa Balogun, Emmanuel Nwude and others, a charge he had vehemently denied.
Meanwhile, Ribadu will on June 6 be conferred with an honorary doctor degree in law by the Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State.