Ribadu: Life’s Hard Abroad, I Miss Nigeria

Lagos: Former Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Malam Nuhu Ribadu, currently on exile in the United Kingdom, at the weekend gave an account of his sojourn abroad and said life is hard. He also said he is missing home.

Ribadu, who in defiance of the manhunt for him by security agencies following ongoing trial in absentia by the Code of Conduct Tribunal, resurfaced in the country on Thursday, said in a telephone interview with THISDAY from his base abroad that he is already missing his family and the Nigerian people.
The former police officer, who was in Lagos to commiserate with the family of the late human rights lawyer, Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN), said although he is extremely busy playing one role or the other in virtually all parts of the world, staying away from Nigeria has not been a palatable experience for him.
He said: “Life is hard abroad because I miss my family. I miss my people and I miss my country.”
Ribadu, however, explained that he has been extremely busy as he was being invited to play one role or the other in many parts of the world.
“My timetable is full for the year. I have been having engagements across the world. Within the Ramadan period alone, I have been to 10 countries and these are all working visits,” he said.
He said that as former chairman of EFCC, he has done his best along with other Nigerians that worked with him.
“I have done my own bit to the best of my ability together with other Nigerians and all the noise that EFCC failed during our time does not move me. I’m proud of what we did.
“I’m not there now. I will leave them and Nigerians to judge their performance.
I will like to tell Aondoakaa to learn from history, that whatever he is doing now, a day will come when he will be asked to account for his actions.
“The embarrassment he is bringing to
Nigeria is at international level and he should know that his actions are well recorded and documented by Nigerians and those who have the interest of Nigeria at heart. A day is coming when all these would be made public and justice will be done on behalf of Nigerians,” he said.
He said it is not true that he did not declare his assets during his tenure as EFCC boss, the subject of his on-going trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
After an initial hesitation to talk on the case, Ribadu opened up.
“I don’t want to discuss the case at the Code of Conduct Tribunal. 
They said I have not declared my asset but that is not correct.
“If you don’t declare your assets, you cannot get Senate clearance before becoming EFCC chairman and a week after I left Kuru I also declared my assets.”
Asked why he took the risk of coming to Nigeria last Thursday despite the possibility of his arrests by security agents, following persistent claim by government officials, particularly the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Mike Aondoakaa (SAN) that he was working against the interest of Nigeria by making statements at international fora which embarrass the Yar’Adua administration, Ribadu said he was motivated by the love and respect he had for Chief Gani Fawehinmi.
“I did it because I have principle and I stand by it.
I believe strongly in Gani and you should not allow others to change who you are. I’m at peace with myself for coming to
Nigeria to share the grief with my people.”
Ribadu advised Nigerians not to lose hope in the country. He said that with determination and a deep sense of hope,
Nigeria can still be better.
“Nigerians must have faith in themselves. You must believe in the country and we must have faith in the future and that it can be done. We should be able to fix this country,” he said.
Ribadu said he drew inspirations from two American presidents, late John Kennedy and the incumbent, Barack Obama.
“It was President Kennedy that advised Americans to ask for what they could do for their country and not what the country could do for them. Nigerians need us more now than ever before.
It was President Obama who said ‘Yes, we can do it.’ This is a clear message that we can also fix our country. The next source of inspiration for me is Nelson Mandela, who said ‘it always seems impossible until it is done’ which means it can be done in
Nigeria as well,” he said.
Ribadu, who is being tried in absentia by the Code of Conduct Tribunal for allegedly violating the Code of Conduct provision on the declaration of assets by public officers, had fled the country last year claiming threat to his life.
Ribadu was removed in controversial circumstances on
November 30, 2008 by the Federal Government, following President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s approval of his nomination for a course at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Plateau State.
He was replaced by Assistant Commissioner of Police, Ibrahim Lamorde, as acting chairman of the EFCC.
He was later demoted from the rank of Assistant Inspector-General of Police to Deputy Commissioner of Police, and later sacked for “indiscipline, insubordination and absence from duty”.
The ex-EFCC chair then went on self-exile, prompting Nigerian security agencies to place him under watch.
He is currently in court challenging most of the actions taken against him by the government and the police authorities.