Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), Sir Mike Okiro, has responded to an allegation by former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nuhu Ribadu, that he was the mastermind of the two failed assassination attempts on his life and not former Delta State governor, James Ibori. Okiro in a statement issued in Abuja on Monday, described the former anti-corruption Czar as an “inveterate liar.”
Ribadu, who took the witness box last Friday at the continued hearing on confiscation of assets belonging to Ibori at the Southwark Crown Court, London, described Okiro as “a despicable human being, the most corrupt police officer I have ever seen” adding that “He made my life hell; he withdrew my official car and police security.”
The former EFCC boss further revealed under cross-examination by both the defence and prosecution counsel, that “Ibori was responsible for Okiro’s appointment as IG.”
“He recommended him to the late president, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. They – Ibori and Okiro – were extremely close,” Ribadu stated.
But Okiro denied all the allegations, went down memory lane explaining the events as he remembered them and how Ribadu was being economical with the truth.
His statement read in part: “Ribadu went on a course to National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS). He was not posted out of EFCC. His Deputy, Ibrahim Lamorde was acting and holding forth. The vehicle(s) he was using belonged to EFCC where he was chairman for about six years and could not have been withdrawn by the police. The policemen he used as his security were those posted permanently to EFCC.
“Therefore, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) had no role in their internal daily deployment. Thirdly, Ribadu was on course as Assistant Inspector-General of Police and statutorily had to maintain his paraphernalia of security details.”
Okiro said “Nigerians will remember that Ribadu once caused a newspaper publication to be made to the effect that he was attacked and shot at on his way to NIPSS but was saved because he was driving a bullet proof vehicle and the attackers could not stop him.
“He said that he suspected a retired Inspector-General of Police who had been monitoring him. I was then serving as IGP. I was angry that a serving Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) or even any AIG at all or a VIP, for that matter, was shot at and I was not briefed.
“I called him several times to give me details but he refused to pick my calls. I then sent signals to Commissioners of Police (CP) FCT Abuja, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Plateau, the likely state commands where the incident could have taken place. They all replied that no such incident happened in their commands. Since I could not reach him, I addressed a press conference where I stated that his claim of attack was false.”
The former police boss recalled that he took that advantage also to ask Ribadu publicly to come up with details of the attack like the day and time and where the incident took place but according to him, “Ribadu never came up as directed. For him to turn round now and say that I was involved ‘in attempts to assassinate him’ demonstrated the double speak for which he is shamefully known. He was an AIG under me. Why must I want to assassinate a subordinate officer?” Okiro queried.
He continued: “Ribadu said he was there when James Ibori nominated Mike Okiro to be IGP. Well I was not there myself and cannot confirm or refute the claims. I am just hearing it now, for the first time. If he was there did he oppose it? I was appointed IGP on merit and seniority.”
Okiro further stated that Ribadu had boasted to his friends that he refused to take instructions from him while he was the then IGP because he had been penciled down to succeed Mr. Sunday Ehindero as the Inspector General of Police until he (Okiro) came into the picture and usurped the position for himself.
Saying he did not alter the “course of nature” in his appointment as IGP, Okiro noted that “He claimed that he regarded me as an interloper who took the position reserved for him and so despised me and whatever I stood for.”
He also took exception to Ribadu’s allegation that he was the most corrupt police officer he has ever seen stating that he had positions of authority in the Nigeria Police Force without blemish and challenged the former EFCC boss to come up with proof to back up his allegations.
Describing Ribadu as “an inveterate liar”, Okiro wondered why he should cast aspersions on his senior in such manner asserting that it shows he was “indisciplined.”