Monday, December 29, 2008

Dismissal of Ribadu

THE reasons for the dismissal of Mallam Nuhu Ribadu from the Nigeria Police Force are seemingly weighty. Nevertheless, the authorities sacking him with several matters in court on his relationship with the police is wrong.
Mallam Ribadu, former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), whose current police rank is a subject of a legal dispute, has been at loggerheads with the authorities since he was sent to the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), in Jos last year. His supporters claimed he was removed for government to water down the war against corruption.

Government’s story was that Ribadu had to attend the course which he missed through his rapid promotions to an Assistant Inspector-General of Police.

After the rank reversal, there were suggestions that he should withdraw from NIPSS, as he was no longer qualified for the course.

His graduation from NIPSS ended the same way as his admission — in controversy. On graduation day, security personnel hurled Mallam Ribadu out of the ceremony. His offence? He was improperly attired.

The police had reverted Mallam Ribadu to his former rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police, in a mass reversal of promotions that did not pass through the Police Service Commission. Mallam Ribadu turned up at the NIPSS graduation in mufti to avoid wearing the DCP rank. He was already in court with the police over his rank.

Other things followed in quick succession. The Presidency ordered NIPSS to award him the certificate. Mallam Ribadu was posted to Edo State, the EFFC invited him to hand over properly and the police asked him to appear before a disciplinary committee in Kaduna.

Mallam Ribadu raced to court to halt these moves. He wanted the court to stop the EFCC from arresting him. He then alleged that there threats to his life.

While all these were going on, Mallam Ribadu rode on the crest of a legal pressure group that insisted on the rule of law in handling his case.

However, some think Mallam Ribadu, considering his own seeming aversion to the law while at EFCC, was getting more than a fair deal. They would have wanted him treated in the same manner he treated suspects as EFCC helmsman.

The point must be made that the law does not thrive on revenge. The government erred in dismissing Mallam Ribadu while he has cases pending in court on these same matters.

Government could ask for accelerated hearing of the matters if it wanted. Impatience was unnecessary and unhelpful.

The temptation to deal swiftly and conclusively with Mallam Ribadu could have been overwhelming, but government erred in treating the courts contemptuously. It should reverse itself immediately to restore respect for the rule of law and discourage others from acting lawlessly