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Ribadu may face police disciplinary committee

Posted by From Yusuf Alli (Managing Editor, Northern Operation), Pam Ayuba (Jos), Gbenga Omokhunu (Abuja), Shola O’Neil (Warri)and Eric Ikhilae on 2008/11/24 | Views: 2575 |

Ribadu may face police disciplinary committee

EMBATTLED former Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) chair Nuhu Ribadu is billed to meet police chief Mike Okiro tomorrow, it was learnt last night.

EMBATTLED former Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) chair Nuhu Ribadu is billed to meet police chief Mike Okiro tomorrow, it was learnt last night.

Ribadu is in Abuja, after his graduation at the prestigious National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) in Kuru, near Jos, was truncated on Saturday when security agents removed him from the ceremony.

He is to keep an appointment with the Inspector General of Police at the Force Headquarters, Abuja.

Ribadu’s whereabouts has been unknown since Saturday. But a source said: "He left the ceremony for his chalet where sympathisers, including the villagers, came to wish him well.

"He said he was going to Abuja, leaving later in a convoy of cars. He’s in Abuja."

There were strong indications last night that the Police may delay his posting and charge him before a disciplinary panel with alleged insubordination.

His posting, it was learnt, may be delayed, until the determination of his suit challenging his demotion.

Ribadu was demoted from Assistant Inspector-General (AIG) to Deputy Commission (DCP) while he was attending the NIPSS’ Course 30, which ended on Saturday. He was prevented from graduating despite completing the nine-month course which is meant for top public officers and business executives.

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP), the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), activist lawyer Femi Falana and the Campaign for Democracy (CD) described as "barbaric" what they called the "humiliation" of Ribadu.

It was learnt that Ribadu was disallowed from graduating by the Police hierarchy and may face a disciplinary panel for not honouring an invitation, routed through the Inspector-General of Police by the EFCC.

A source, who spoke in confidence with The Nation, said it was difficult for the Police to post Ribadu to any command.

He said: "Having sued the Police Service Commission (PSC) and the Police over his demotion, the IG has no choice but to delay Ribadu’s posting until the determination of his matter.

"So, we are likely to delay his posting. If you give him the responsibility of a DCP, he might decline by sticking to his purported elevation to the rank of an AIG. In this kind of situation, what the Police hierarchy can do is to stay action on his posting."

On Ribadu’s purported refusal to have an audience with Mrs. Waziri on November 20 as directed by the IG, the source said the law would take its course.

"Going by precedent, Ribadu may face a disciplinary panel. The same thing that happened to Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) Ibrahim Magu, a key aide of Ribadu, is about repeating itself.

"Magu, who was in charge of most investigations under Ribadu, allegedly refused to release some vital documents, even after he was advised to do so by the IG. Magu was later asked to appear before a disciplinary panel in Jos.

"The challenge the Police is facing on Ribadu is about indiscipline. He did not explore internal mechanism for seeking redress in the Police before going to court over his demotion.

"And, he does not respect any directive from either the PSC or the IG. No institution could condone that."

It was learnt that the Police hierarchy played a major role in stopping Ribadu’s graduation.

A source said: "The Police sent him on course and the same Police stopped him from graduation because he is a DCP.

"I think the IG felt slighted by Ribadu’s disregard for his office and reported the insubordination to the appropriate quarters for necessary action. The suit filed by Ribadu proved to be his undoing. In this era of rule of law, the government and the Police management would prefer the court process to take its full course."

Speaking with our reporter yesterday afternoon, Ribadu, who declined to state his whereabouts, said he was in Jos.

But a source later told The Nation that the former EFCC chair was in Abuja.

In a statement by its president Oluwarotimi Akered-olu (SAN), NBA said stopping Ribadu’s graduation negated the Yar’Adua administration’s claim that it believes in the rule of law.

NBA said there was a more civilised way the government could have made its point if it was averse to Ribadu’s participation in the NIPSS’ course. The association called for the prosecution of the security personnel who ordered Ribadu out of the graduation venue.

NBA argued that having completed the course and listed among the graduands by the institute, "there can be no legal or moral justification in denying Mr. Ribadu the opportunity to take part in the graduation ceremony.

"If the Federal Government had any genuine reason to prevent him from attending the programme, the decision should have been conveyed to him and authorities of NIPPS in a civilised manner. The action of the authorities by marching Mr. Ribadu out of the hall when the guests were already seated amounted to nothing but barbarism in the extreme.

"We condemn this very mean action which has exposed the Federal Government and its democratic pretensions to ridicule. We call on all well-meaning Nigerians to join hands with the NBA in confronting barbaric ideas in whatever guise."

Falana in a statement entitled: "The barbaric attack on Ribadu", said the humiliation of the former EFCC chair was "an extension of the increasing wave of repression in the land".

The statement reads:

"A couple of weeks ago, Mr. Ribadu sued the Police Authorities over his double demotion from the AIG to DCP. Instead of allowing the Law to take its course, a contemptuous query was served on Mr. Ribadu for having the temerity to challenge constituted authority in a court of law.

"As if that was not enough, Mr. Ribadu was physically manhandled by security agents and prevented from taking part in the graduation ceremony at Kuru on Saturday. The official humiliation of Mr. Ribadu was extended to his family members and friends who were at the ceremony to felicitate with him.

"Having regard to the illegal closure of the Channels Television and the on-going intimidation of the editors of the Leadership Newspaper on accounts of alleged misinformation on the state of health of President Umaru Yar’Adua, the brutal assault of Mr. Ribadu should therefore be seen as an extension of the increasing wave of repression in the land.

"By waging psychological and physical attacks on a man who has sued the Government the Yar’Adua regime has shown that its touted belief in the rule of Law is a grant ruse. Since the graduation ceremony is a mere formality Mr. Ribadu should take solace in the enormous solidarity of the Nigerian people which enabled him to complete the Kuru training programme. Instead of sympathising with the victims of official high handedness Nigerians should reject the renewed moves to turn the country into a banana republic".

CNPP described Ribadu’s exclusion from the NIPSS’ graduation as the height of executive lawlessness and arbitrariness.

A statement by CNPP’s National Publicity Secretary Osita Okechukwu, reads: "The exclusion exposed the inefficiency, inconsistency and clueless nature of the Yar’Adua regime; otherwise what on earth prompted them to send Ribadu to the course in the first place or prevented them from stopping him, when he was unlawfully demoted?

"A ... regime could have from the outset decided to out-rightly dismiss Ribadu or transfer him to the Force Headquarters, to avoid unnecessary embarrassment to the nation.

"Whereas we do not absolve Ribadu of selectivity in the discharge of his duties as EFCC chair; however, we acknowledge the milestones he covered in the war against corruption in Nigeria."

SERAP petitioned the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders in Africa of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Madame Reine Alapini-Gansou, over the alleged humiliation of Ribadu.

The organisation urged her to intervene in the matter in the interest of justice.

In a November 22 petition, signed by its Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni SERAP urged the Special Rapporteur to "send a strong message to the government of Nigeria that the intimidation and harassment of anti-corruption campaigners is unacceptable, and will not be tolerated."

The CD said the treatment of Ribadu showed that neither the NIPSS management nor the unseen hands behind his travails had strategic thinking of their actions.

"It is quite absurd that a Nigerian of Ribadu’s status would be made to go through a course, fulfil all the conditions for graduation only for some goons to come and bundle him out of the graduation ceremony with his family and relations.

"We view this action as an overkill by Corruption in Nigeria which would not consider any weapon offensive in its fight back against Ribadu who dared to look corruption in the face in Nigeria.

"There has yet to be any official explanation for why this crude measure was resorted to, but we are alarmed that some lawyers are insinuating that Ribadu could not have taken his employers to court and not expect the system to give it back to him.

"It is a sad day for justice administration in our country when lawyers of whatever hue started to think in this bizarre way.

"If Ribadu had taken the whole country to court, is that a sufficient reason to give him that barbaric treatment? Where else should an aggrieved seek redress in a ‘rule of law’ Republic?", CD said in a statement by its president Joe Okei-Odumakin.

A group, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) described the incident as what it called a deliberate act calculated to frustrate Ribadu whose record in crime-bursting has gained international recognition.

"Progressive and right thinking Nigerians expressed this fear that the idea of sending Ribadu on a course at that material time was a smokescreen. The authorities denied this. We were even told that Ribadu would remain chairman of the EFCC while on the course and that no one would be appointed as substantive head while he was away. But the rules of the game were changed while the game was still on," MURIC said in a statement by its director Ishaq Akintola.

The National Co-ordinator of Ijaw Monitoring Group (IMG), Comrade Joseph Evah said:

"From what has happened, it is now clear that there is still no rule of law in this country, because what happened on Saturday is contrary to the rule of law. This kind of thing can only happen in military rule. But what they do not know is that they are making the man more popular because everybody knows that this is the hand of some former governors."

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