Former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Nuhu Ribadu, has said that he has no regrets championing the fight against corruption in the country, and would do it again if given the chance.
Ribadu made the remarks as a guest speaker during the National Stakeholders Workshop on the Recovery and Management of Recovered Assets, which was organized by the Itse Sagay-led Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, PACAC, and the Commonwealth secretariat.
He said though he is still paying dearly for his anti-corruption activities, especially now that he is into politics, he is proud of what the EFCC was able to achieve under his leadership.
“I’m still paying dearly. In my own madness, I decided to go into politics and I am still paying for it. But I’m not bothered; I will continue fighting to the last of my breath. If I’m given the opportunity, I will do it again,” Ribadu said.
The former governorship aspirant in Adamawa state also frowned at the allegation that the immediate past chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Lamorde, embezzled more than N1 trillion of the monies recovered by the commission.
Ribadu said the past and present leaders of the commission have over the years handled recovered loot in a manner that deserves commendation by Nigerians and not condemnation.
He however said the development wasn’t really a surprise to him as that was a clear case of corruption fighting back.
“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 the most unfair remark but certainly not totally surprising as the fight against corruption is essentially a thankless job, especially in our climes,” Ribadu said.
He added: “That was why I was telling Prof. (Itse Sagay), that ‘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 desperately and we denied them chance to make good use of it and enjoy it with their families.”
Ribadu said it was rather senior lawyers who pocketed billions of dollars as a result of the unearthing of major corruption cases like the Halliburton case.
“A case in point is the Halliburton investigation, where, after we had done the bulk of the work, it was turned into a milking cow for some senior lawyers who made millions of dollars out of it,” he said.
Ribadu said it was regrettable that other foreign countries, such as the US and the UK also recovered lots of money from the Halliburton case and other cases of high level corruption, but the Nigerian government did not get anything because it failed to take any step.
He said, “I ended up taking this case to the US authorities. Unfortunately, there was nothing we could do here in Nigeria,
“It was the case of powerful companies bribing and compromising the system and getting away with it, and we were hopelessly helpless.