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Nigeria: Nuhu Ribadu set to regain Police rank

Lagos — Barely 48 hours after the presidency asked the Code of Conduct Tribunal to drop criminal charges against former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, President Goodluck Jonathan last Thursday, ordered the Inspector General of Police, Ogbonna Onovo and the chairman of Police Service Commission, (PSC), Mr Parry Osayande to reverse the dismissal of Ribadu, and restore his controversial rank of Assistant Inspector General of Police, AIG,says Daily Champion

An on-line publication has noted thus: “the IG got the directive to begin the process of reversing the dismissal of Ribadu yesterday (Thursday) and we are aware the same directive was issued to the chairman of PSC. It is an order the IG will carry out though reluctantly but we are aware the process wont be easy with members of the PSC who are not happy about the interference with their job because it will portray them as partial and selective in their duty especially as it concerns discipline and promotion in the force. We heard some of them may resign to protest the decision to force them reverse a valid decision in such a manner that they cant justify either now or in the future.”

Meanwhile a source close to President Jonathan has hinted that the decision to withdraw criminal charges against Ribadu and reabsorb him into the police as an AIG was to prepare the ground for his appointment either as a National Security Adviser (NSA) or of Independent Natioanl Electoral Commission (INEC) chairman. The source said Ribadu is being considered for the NSA job because the present NSA, Gen.Aliyu Gusau may soon be eased out because of his presidential ambition while a vacancy already exists in INEC with the exit of Maurice Iwu as chairman.

According to the source, “HE just wants to help Nuhu and Nasir(El-rufai) because of his past relationship with them which many Nigerians may not know about. For instance, Nasir has been HE’s friend since his days as governor of Bayelsa state while Nuhu in all fairness was instrumental to what HE is today. You may not know that Nuhu single handed made HE the governor of Bayelsa when he engineered the impeachment of Alamieyeseigha. Dont also forget that when Odilli was to be named the running mate of Yar’adua, Ribadu stopped it and nominated HE. So, if you look at it critically, Nuhu has helped HE in the past, so now that he is in a position to pay back, he needs to. It is only fair that way.”

As fair as the presidency may consider its decision to withdraw criminal charges against both Ribadu and El-rufai to compensate them for past favours, a top notcher of the PDP from the North however sees the decision as a bad precedent and a mockery of the nation’s anti-graft war.

Just recently, a presidential committee had told Jonathan as acting president why it may not be wise to withdraw charges against Ribadu. A memo to Jonathan by the committee had enumerated the various sins of Ribadu and the reasons why it may not be advisable to give him a preferential treatment in a criminal trial. Part of the memo obtained by iReports-ng reads as follows:

“Your Excellency, you may wish to recall that this whole controversy started when Ribadu was elevated to the rank of Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) over and above his seniors in the Force. Naturally, the promotion elicited a lot of petitions and low morale among the officers and men in the Force.

“Consequently the Police Service Commission, saddled with numerous petitions on illegal and unauthorized promotions carried out in the Force, revisited the promotion exercise and demoted 139 officers including Ribadu, who were alleged to have been wrongly promoted. Following the development, Ribadu was downgraded to the rank of a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), his subsisting rank before the wrongful elevation to AIG.

“Reasons adduced for his dismissal by the Police include among others, indiscipline, insubordination and Absence from Duty Without Official Leave (AWOL). The police also explained that Ribadu’s conduct was inimical to the enforcement of discipline in the police such that he has created disharmony among officers and encouraged indiscipline among members of the Force.

“According to reports, Ribadu’s misconduct included appearing in plain clothes while on official courtesy visit to President Umaru Yar’Adua on November 13, 2008 with other NIPPS course participants, institution of legal proceedings against the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and the Police Service Commission (PSC) on October 2, 2008 at the Federal high Court Lagos, without proper authorization.

“This conduct, according to the police, is prejudicial to discipline, proper administration of the Force and unbecoming of the officer contrary to sections 352 and 367 of the Police Act. As if the above was not enough, the former EFCC boss instituted legal proceedings against the EFCC and the AGF contrary to the Police Act and the Public Service Rules 2006.