A disgraced former Governor of Delta State, Chief James Onanefe Ibori has taken a swipe at former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Nuhu Ribadu, over some claims by the latter at the weekend, which was widely reported in the media.
Ribadu had while giving a TEDx talk in Berlin, Germany, on his experience as an anti-corruption czar, recalled among several other intractable investigations, how Mr. Ibori, who was then still a governor of oil-rich Delta State, approached him with $15 million in a bid to stop the EFCC from probing him.
“I called my people because the money was in big bags, which two people could not carry and we deposited it in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as evidence against him”, the former presidential and Adamawa State governorship candidate said.
Reacting to the claim in a statement released by his Media office and signed by Mr. Tony Eluemunor, his Media Assistant, Mr. Ibori said first reaction was to once again overlook the wild claim as Ribadu appears to be back at his game.
Ibori, who is serving term in the United Kingdom, described the claims by Ribadu as “horrible, revolting, nasty and totally false”, adding his recent outburst many not be unconnected with the Senate and security agencies’ move to probe the EFCC.
“As the Senate and some security agencies appear to be asking questions about some unwholesome events at the EFCC, including the mismanagement and criminal diversion of funds from the sale of confiscated properties into personal pockets, Ribadu may have a need to attempt to burnish his fading image, fearing the investigations may ask questions about events during his tenure. But he should be told that lying, against even an enemy, just to gain some unearned applause and perhaps fence off some approaching investigation and image disaster, must have a limit”, the statement reads.
Mr. Eluemunor noted that “This nonsensical statement has remained in the public domain only because some people have suspended their sense of disbelief and condemned themselves to every hogwash that Ribadu invents in the attempt spruce himself up in borrowed plums”.
“It is on record that Ribadu has made at least five statements over this same claim, and no single one agreed with another. Also both Ibrahim Lamorde (the immediate past EFCC Chairman) and one James Garba, a CBN staff then seconded to the EFCC, made police statements which contradicted Ribadu’s. Even Senator Andy Uba said in a statement that EFCC collected the said money from his house’.
‘Nigerians should know that it was the money from Obasanjo’s Third Term Tenure elongation bid that was dressed up as a bribe just to demonize Ibori. Some five billion dollars were employed to bribe the national and state legislatures to support the accursed project, with certain individuals receiving from N50 to N200 million’.
“The attempt to shoot Ibori down began in 2003, when some PDP Governors were opposed to Obasanjo’s second term bid. That money, sourced from wherever, was used against Ibori, as part of that long-time ‘bring Ibori down project’. We challenge any newspaper or magazine to check all the statements on this bribery allegation and see how each of them, including Ribadu’s five different statements, howls to Ribadu himself: ‘you are a damned liar’. We challenge the journalists to please hasten to prove us liars by looking into those statements”, the convicted former governor’s spokesman stated.
He added that in his latest outburst, Mr. Ribadu told another ‘damned’ lie by claiming that he arrested and prosecuted Mr. Ibori.