Mallam Nuhu Ribadu has named some Nigerians he said tried their best to frustrate the nation’s fight against corruption while he was in charge of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Ribadu spoke on Thursday when he presented the lead paper at the 2016 Annual Lecture organised by the Law Chambers of Joe Kyari Gadzama in Abuja.
Ribadu named foremost lawyer, Ben Nwabueze, former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Michael Aondoakaa, and his successor at the EFCC, Farida Waziri, as people who undermined the country’s efforts to fight against the cancer of corruption.
“I still recall with amazement and shock how some very senior lawyers made it a duty upon themselves to bring down the EFCC and stop the work we were doing. Many of them, like Prof. Ben Nwabueze, SAN, teamed up with politicians to wage a very serious propaganda to discredit the work we were doing”
“One thing that also did a serious damage to the war against corruption was the active connivance of some senior lawyers who represented the governors we charged to courts after the 2007 election”
“It is on record that we charged the former governors of Jigawa, Taraba, Adamawa, Plateau, Enugu, Ekiti, Delta, Abia and Edo states as the first set of ex-governors to face prosecution. However, almost 10 years after most of the cases have not gone anywhere because of deliberate action by lawyers to frustrate the trials”
“Take the case of Mr. Michael Aondoakaa, whose most cardinal agenda as the AGF seemed to be destroying EFCC by every means possible and frustrating all the cases.”
“In that regard he attempted to take over the prosecutorial powers of the commission, which would have rendered the EFCC into a toothless bulldog. But of course we resisted”
He also said that Mr. Aondoakaa later found a partner in Farida Waziri when she was appointed as the chairman of the EFCC to replace Mr. Ribadu.
Mr. Ribadu said Mrs Waziri “inflicted serious damages on the EFCC from which the commission is still struggling to recover”.
He said corrupt practices that were unheard of became widespread in the Commission and outside lawyers were brought in to handle very important cases that sometimes were turned into avenues of making money.
Ribadu said a strong pillar of support was Femi Falana, “who supported us in nurturing the EFCC to what it is today”.
He said those doing the work today were still feeling Mr. Falana’s legal advocacy and support.
“We equally got incredible support from others like Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, the current Vice President of Nigeria; Mr. Tayo Oyetibo, SAN; Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, SAN and Chief Kanu Agabi, SAN”