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Nigerian Authorities Consider Sweeping Police Reforms


Nigerian authorities say they're considering a sweeping reform of the police following widespread allegations of corruption, fraud and inefficiency. The government has already demoted Nuhu Ribadu, the former head of the anti-graft agency the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), from the rank of assistant inspector general of police to assistant commissioner. Officials say his elevation by former president Olusegun Obasanjo did not follow due process.But his supporters say he is being punished for investigating several powerful people, including President Umaru Yar'Adua.


Sina Loremikan is the southwest coordinator of the group Zero Corruption Coalition. He says the current problems of Ribadu are not a surprise. "We know that anybody who has intentions to kick against wrongdoings in society would be a great threat to those who want to sustain wrongdoing in the society, and the element of surprise does not have a beginning nor an end. So for those of us who are into this game, we know that surprises, shock, threat has a beginning, it has no end."

Loremikan says there is merit in the argument that former president Olusegun Obasanjo broke the law by approving a rapid promotion for Ribadu. "For certain ranks which Ribadu falls into, they have the Police Service Commission, which recommends to the Inspector General, or IG, for such promotion. The IG cannot promote; it is the Police Service Commission that recommends for promotion. And I know that for a very long time during the tenure of former president Obasanjo, the Police Service Commission was not reconstituted and, as usual, the man was just doing things the way he feels he wants it to be done."

Loremikan says there is more to the demotion of Ribadu than what has been made public. "It is neither here nor there. The fact is that even if he has been promoted, he can't refuse; even if it is done unfairly or negating the due process, he can't refuse promotion. But those who are promoting him and those demoting him know the reason why they are doing all this."

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