On the International Anti-Corruption Day in 2009, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, ex anti graft czar, unanimously emerged the winner of the first ever Civil Society Anti-Corruption Defender Award.
Mrs Zara Ribadu received the Award on behalf of her husband at a ceremony in Lagos chaired by His Excellency, Dr. Arie van der Wiel, Netherlands Ambassador to Nigeria. Professor Wole Soyinka gave the keynote address, and presented the award to Ribadu’s wife.
In a joint statement dated 9 December 2009, the Wole Soyinka Center for Investigative Journalism; Socio-Economic Rights & Accountability Project (SERAP); Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC); Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA), and Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), which made up the award jury named Ribadu as “our own equivalent of Amnesty International’s Prisoner of Conscience and individual at risk.”
According to a statement read at the ceremony on behalf of the award jury by Tayo Oyetibo, (SAN), and member of the board of SERAP, “This is an exceptional gathering for an even more exceptional man. Today the world celebrates the International Anti-Corruption Day, and we consider it a special day to celebrate the courage and commitment of a man who despite obvious personal risks, decided to say ‘enough is enough’, and to give his all to the fight against corruption in Nigeria.”