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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 April 2007, 12:19 GMT 13:19 UK
Nigeria anti-graft tsar promoted
Nuhu Ribadu
Nuhu Ribadu is seen as an ally of the president
The head of Nigeria's anti-graft agency has been given a renewed four-year mandate with a high-profile promotion.

The president has promoted Nuhu Ribadu from police commissioner to the rank of assistant inspector general of police.

Critics, who see Mr Ribadu as an ally of the president, say his tenure renewal is a "reward for successfully silencing the opposition".

But President Olusegun Obasanjo's supporters say the move will secure the regime's four-year-old anti-graft war.

Mr Obasanjo is standing down after this month's elections after two terms in office.

'Good omen'

"It would seem that Mr Ribadu is being rewarded for a 'job well done' having been used to intimidate political opponents," opposition leader Edwin Ume-Ezeoke told the BBC News website.

This is an opportunity to prosecute them [governors] so that Nigerians would believe that they are not sacred cows
MP Hamisu Shira

But Hamisu Shira, a ruling party member of Nigeria's House of Representatives, said that his re-appointment "is a very good omen for our democracy".

"It is also an opportunity for Mr Ribadu to go after those governors that have managed to avoid prosecution because of immunity," he said.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it is investigating almost all of Nigeria's 36 governors who stand down next month.

"This is an opportunity to prosecute them so that Nigerians would believe that they are not sacred cows," Mr Shira says.

The EFCC under Mr Ribadu has convicted over 150 persons involved in economic and financial crimes since its establishment in 2003.

Most prominent among the cases handled by the EFCC include the trial and conviction of Emmanuel Nwude and others in what was considered the biggest bank fraud in the world.

Mr Ribadu was also behind thee conviction of his former boss and head of Nigeria's police service for allegedly stealing $144m.

Recently the EFCC has played a key role in barring many politicians accused of corruption from running in the general elections.

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