Former chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Malam Nuhu Ribadu, on Tuesday, said that for N30 trillion to be missing under the watch of Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, was impossible.
“I was baffled and got deluded for anyone to say that N30 trillion got lost. I think we just have to look at what we earn as a country and what our budget had been in these few years and see how possible it is,” Ribadu told the News Agency Nigeria (NAN) in an interview.
“If everything we earned is not up to that within the period she has been the minister, which is about three to four years, then we need to be careful.
“We need to be careful to avoid more damage to our nation, because there are certain things that when it comes out, it will never go back again,” he said.
According to him, while working under former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, Okonjo-Iweala was the economic team leader and she coordinated the economic policy of the administration effectively.
“I challenge anybody to say that she stole N1 at that time; we were all there. I was in charge of EFCC and I want to hear anybody say that she did this and that.
“I followed her up till now. I think it is somehow uncharitable for someone to come out to say that such an amount of money was missing under her watch,” he said.
Ribadu described the finance minister as a woman of impeccable integrity, who is well respected globally. According to him, when he worked with her, Okonjo-Iweala exhibited a nationalistic attitude that was not questionable.
The former EFCC boss therefore advised that people advocate for things geared towards the unity of the country and avoid controversies that would cause more harm to the system.
“I am close to almost all of us that worked together as a team and I know that Ngozi continues to do what she knows how best to do, which is to serve Nigeria.
“She managed this economy fairly in spite of all the challenges and difficulties; it is sad for someone to look at Ngozi and said that she has a hand in it (alleged missing funds).
“This pull-down syndrome has to stop and we must manage ourselves very well; I am not happy now with what is going on and I think that if it is politics, I think it is something that is hurting us as people and hurting the economy as well,” he stated.
Ribadu is running for Adamawa State governorship under the umbrella of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).