Former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu has refuted claims that he was after the former governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori, that his investigation and prosecution by the Ribadu-led anti-graft agency was for selfish reasons.
Ribadu, who spoke from his base in the United States of America (USA), said that comments credited to Ibori that his ordeals in the hands of the EFCC during the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo were as a result of his refusal to accede to some requests by the former EFCC boss were baseless and full of self delusion.
His immediate reaction was blunt: “Don’t you think what he has said lacks substance? That it does not even deserve a response? Of course, my immediate reaction will be that he is involved in self-delusion. His comments are baseless and deserve no reaction, but for record purposes, I will react,” Ribadu said.
He said that it was incorrect for the former governor to claim that he (Ribadu) approached him for a job in Geneva. According to him, the former governor does not have such credibility in the international community. He also insisted that he was not desperate for positions and had never approached Ibori for any favour.
Ribadu said it would be wrong for him to approach somebody he had investigated for a job, adding that Ibori made a big mistake to think that he (Ribadu) was looking for something. According to him, such material things like money and power have never been too important in his life.
Ribadu further responded with questions: “Who was he by the time I was in office? Is he saying that he is the one who formed President Yar’Adua’s government? How can I approach him to get me a job in Geneva? Ask the people in Geneva. Between me and him who will they listen to? How can I approach an… for an international job?”
He said further: “Is he telling Nigerians that he is the one who owns the courts and tells the judges what to do? Is he saying that he is the one who determines the ruling of the judges? Was he the President of the Court of Appeal, which determined the ruling in the presidential election petition? I want him to respond and for Nigerians to reflect on that.
“It is very sad that people like that will have a platform to talk. It is very sad that our country will keep producing leaders like that.”I am telling him and people of his kind that instead of continuing to promote a sinful life and continue to spend huge funds to promote propaganda against me and the people, they should make peace with God and Nigerians will forgive them for what they have done to us.
“Instead of spending money to hire foreign lawyers, let him come to terms with himself, make peace and return any stolen money. As for me, he is making a big mistake to think that I am looking for something. Power and money are not important to me.
“I promise him that I will continue the fight until I drop dead and that is why I will not die now and that is what is motivating me to continue. They have a hard fight ahead of them, himself and people like him do have a hard fight ahead of them.
“My assurance is that Nigerians will one day get justice. Justice will one day come to Nigeria. It is a delusion that does not warrant a response, really, but I say this for record purposes.”
The former governor of Delta State had told newsmen in Lagos on Friday that Ribadu decided to humiliate him after he had rejected his overtures to assist him become the Inspector General of Police(IGP) and also ensure the annulment of President Yar’Adua’s election.
Ibori had said on Friday: “I can say without any fear of contradiction that I have and hope I still have a good relationship with the erstwhile chairman of the EFCC, even though he now denies that he is a friend. I am a Christian and will not deny him.
“Very many times, he tried to get me to assist him in one way or the other, including his desire to become the Inspector General of Police. In his approach, he posited that in his estimation and knowledge of Nigerian politics, I was one of those who could help him achieve it.
“On another occasion, he attempted to recruit me to join a crusade to annul the presidential election of 2007. In fact, he promised that if I did, he would not file charges against me and would not prosecute me.
“I told him to give me time to reflect on it. But it would be stupid of me to have bought into his blackmail, so I ignored him. When he then realised that I was not succumbing to his cheap blackmail, he decided to go ahead with his plan of humiliating me.”
Ibori said that an observer had alerted him in November 2007, while he was attending the United Nations session with the Nigerian delegation in New York, that Ribadu planned to frame him that he attempted to give him a $15 million bribe.
Accordingly, he said he put a call through to Ribadu who, according to the former governor, denied the allegation.”Interestingly, he himself has contradicted his statement severally with regards to the alleged bribe, especially in his statement in the English court,” Ibori claimed.
He also alleged that Ribadu’s grudge against him was also because he insisted on due process in the suit filed against him at a Kaduna High Court, which has now been transferred to Delta state.
He said: “My lawyers challenged both the detention, the jurisdiction of the court and the seizure of my passports, all of which were vigorously argued at the lower court and at the appeal court.
“It was finally resolved at the appeal court, where the court agreed with my lawyers that the jurisdiction where the alleged crime was committed is the Benin Division. The appeal court also granted the release of my passports.”
“All of this, I think, did not go down well with the erstwhile EFCC chairman. Since my arrest, detention and eventual prosecution, my team of lawyers have consistently assured me that I will be fully exonerated because there is no evidence to support the charges.”
Chief Ibori said that it was not in his character to join issues with people on the pages of newspapers but that he had to respond now because of pressures from political associates, friends, colleagues and well-wishers.
We Get Petrol At N200 Per Litre From Depots, IPMAN Cries Out
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has decried the ‘unsustainable’ price that the private depot owners sell the premium motor spirit, otherwise known as petrol in the country.
Speaking, yesterday, on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, the Deputy National President of IPMAN, Zarama Mustapha, revealed that the private depots get petrol at the approved price of N148/litre from the sole importer of the commodity, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, however, sell it for as high as N195 to N210 to independent marketers, which is not sustainable.
“Though marketers get petrol at the approved price of N148/litre from NNPC depots, the company does not have enough storage facilities to cater to the needs of marketers, hence, the latter resorts to private depot owners. It is more of the issue of private depots collecting the products at the approved price and not selling to the independent marketers at a price approved by the mainstream, downstream regulatory authority.
“You cannot get a product at N195 to N200 and expect to sell it at N175,” he noted.
The IPMAN official said depot owners give excuses such as the cost of transporting the product from the mother vessel to their depots and escalation of the dollar as reasons for the price hike.
Mustapha lamented that most Lagos depots are in a chaotic situation and marketers spend three days to load refined petrol that they are not supposed to spend more than three hours to lift.
He urged the NNPC to engage depot owners to sell the product to marketers at the recommended price, saying the common man is at the receiving end.
For weeks, vehicle owners have had a tough time getting petrol from filling stations, especially in Lagos and Abuja.
Whilst many outlets are closed, the few open ones sell the indispensable commodity for as high as N250 per litre from the uniform price of N169/litre.
The supply shortage has led to long, gruelling snake-like queues at the few open filling stations as motorists and business owners jostle to buy fuel while others resort to the black market.
The situation has also worsened traffic on major roads as vehicle owners block at least one lane to join queues to filling stations.
Make Nigerian Youths Innovative, Buhari Tells Corporate Leaders
President Muhammadu Buhari has tasked leaders of corporate organisations to build the capacity of Nigerian youths to be innovative and embrace technology to make positive contributions to their organisations and the nation.
The president, represented by the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, said this at the Institute of Directors (IoD) 2022 Annual Director’s Conference (ADC), yesterday, in Lagos.
The ADC had as its theme: “Corporate Governance and Digital Transformation: Leading Purposefully for Growth and Sustainability.”
Buhari, noting that the challenges associated with corporate governance were multifaceted, stressed the need for heads of organisations to harness technology to achieve effective governance.
He reiterated the commitment of his administration to providing the necessary legal support and framework to support the entrenchment of good corporate governance practices across various sectors of the economy.
Buhari also pledged his commitment to supporting the IoD by giving the institute’s chartered bill the necessary consideration to enable it to achieve its mandate.
Deputy Secretary General, United Nations, Ms Amina Mohammed, said the world was hit by a series of global crises which have affected the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
Mohammed said technology and digitalisation would set the era of digital transformation in areas of health, education, agriculture and finance.
Nigeria Does Not Belong To North, Arewa Youths Tell Northern Elders
The Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) has said that Nigeria does not belong to the North ahead of the 2023 general election.
Apparently reacting to the recent interview granted by a member of the Northern Elders Forum, Alh Sani Zango Daura, in which he called on the North to support a Northern candidate.
The AYCF, in a statement issued by its National President, Yerima Shettima, noted that supporting a southerner was clearly a demonstration of justice.
He noted that this was because Nigeria does not belong to the North alone, or Muslims and Christians of the North, insisting that “even on moral grounds, the most responsible political action by the North was the decision on powershift in 2023, because the Presidency cannot be hereditary and Nigeria is not a Banana Republic”.
Shettima further said, however, that the elder was expressing his personal opinion and not the stand of the North in general, saying that a “ little balancing was needed in position of our father Zangon Daura, more so when he admitted that the elders are mere escorts for the younger generation today”.
The AYCF noted that when 13 Northern governors led by Kaduna State Governor, Mal Nasirel-Rufai endorsed a Southern candidate for the 2023 presidency, they repeatedly cited political justice.
“Though we are not card-carrying members of the APC, we shared the view that the decision was in line with being fair to the South in 2023.
“We are aware, as well as our father ZangonDaura, that the North is respected for honouring its promises to the South and this one absolutely undeniable character of all Northerners.
“We are not known to break promises and that explains why our son, President MuhammaduBuhari never objected to the idea of a Southern presidential candidate in the ruling party. In the North, like our father ZangonDaura knows, promises are sacred and in fact a culture”.
It would be recalled that in a viral audio of AlhajiZangonDaura while addressing a group of youths, suggested that they should throw their weight behind a fellow Northerner for the presidency in 2023, citing historic and religious instances, something the AYCF said it believed was “overtaken by events, current realities, and the spirit of justice and fairness in the Nigerian project”.
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