Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, a former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), says he is “paying dearly” for his decision to go into politics after heading the nation’s anti-graft agency.
While noting that the “fight against corruption is a thankless job”, the 2011 presidential candidate of Action Congress (AC) maintained that he was never party to the embezzlement of recovered loot during his tenure as EFCC boss.
Ribadu made the comments on Wednesday at a national stakeholders’ Workshop on the Recovery and Management of Recovered Assets, where he was keynote speaker.
“Considering the care we took in handling whatever was in our custody, I find it baffling and disheartening when I hear people make insinuations about how we handled recovered assets. It is a most unfair remark but certainly not totally surprising as the fight against corruption is essentially a thankless job, especially in our climes,” he said.
“That was why I was telling Prof Sagay: ‘Don’t bother sir, people will abuse you; don’t say anything. This is the job’. We are hurting people; we are taking things from those who took things and we denied them chance to make use of them and enjoy and with their family.
“I’m still paying dearly. In my own madness, I decided to go into politics and I am still paying for it. But I am not bothered. I’ll continue fighting till my last breath. If I’m given the opportunity, I’ll do it again.
“We have the most vital tool needed in this war, namely political will. I see in the present leadership, specifically the president, the will to allow the war to be fought without interference and the eagerness to support it in whatever way possible. These two points are important prerequisites in winning the anti-corruption war.
“We are also lucky to have a set of people, including Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), who are very passionate and committed to be in charge of the process.”