Former Head, Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
Getting the News Out/Managing Expectations
Nigeria, corruption, media relations, oversight agency, recruitment, reform sequencing, training curriculum
Daniel Scher and Graeme Blair
Wed Jun 17 2009
Nuhu Ribadu, former head of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), discusses the successes and challenges of creating a national anti-corruption task force. He explains how he became head of the EFCC and the process of creating a clear vision for the reforms. Ribadu details how the EFCC was able to prosecute some of Nigeria’s most notorious fraudsters in an attempt to change the country’s culture of corruption. He also touches on engaging with the media and civil society to get citizens on board with anti-corruption efforts, reaching out to the international community for advice and training resources, and recruiting staff. He explains the effects naming political candidates under investigation for corruption had on elections and political parties and briefly outlines the dangers of going after some of Nigeria’s wealthiest and most prominent citizens. Finally Ribadu discusses the importance of leadership and support from the president in carrying out successful reforms and how ultimately the loss of that support, he believes, crippled the organization and reversed previous successes.
At the time of this interview, Nuhu Ribadu was a visiting fellow at the Center for Global Development following the end of his tenure as the head of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, a position he held from the creation of the EFCC in 2003 until 2007, when he was briefly appointed to Assistant Inspector General of Police. At the end of 2007, following tension with the administration of newly-elected President Umaru Yar’Adua, Ribadu was removed from the EFCC and later dismissed from the police force. He had previously worked as a government prosecutor from 1985 until 2003. In January 2011 the Action Congress of Nigeria named Ribadu as their candidate for President. In 1983 Ribadu received a bachelor of law from Ahmadu Bello University before graduating from the Nigerian Law School in 1984. He is currently a senior fellow at Oxford University.