- Category: Politics
- Published on Wednesday, 23 November 2011 15:32
- Written by Admin
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President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday sacked the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mrs. Farida Waziri.
The agency's Director of Operations, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, was directed to take over immediately. Jonathan has been under pressure to remove Waziri over her perceived poor performance.
Incidentally, when she was appointed on May 18, 2008 by the late President Umaru Yar'Adua, she took over from Lamorde, who was appointed in an acting capacity after Mallam Nuhu Ribadu as EFCC chairman in controversial circumstances.
Her removal came just two days after she challenged the political leaders to show more political will in fighting corruption in the country.
According to her, corruption is the biggest threat to the nation’s economy and national security and unless there is political will, it would be difficult to fight corruption in Nigeria.
Mrs Waziri was on Monday speaking at the National Defence College, Abuja, where she delivered a lecture to Course 20 participants on: Economic Crimes and National Security: Challenges for Nigeria
Why EFCC chairman was removed, by Presidency, others
HOURS after her removal, the reason(s) for former Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairman Mrs Farida Waziri’s fate remained hazy yesterday.
Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati said last night that her removal “is part of President Jonathan’s determination to revitalise the fight against corruption”.
Abati added: “President Jonathan may in due course announce further reforms and will be looking at other key areas to give more vigorous emphasis to the administration’s transformation agenda,” Abati said.
Government sources said the EFCC has suffered a reputation damage on account of Mrs Waziri’s headship of the agency.
The perception problem reportedly sparked doubts about the character and capacity of the agency’s leadership.
Mrs Waziri’s alleged poor handling of the Ibori case and the failure of the EFCC to challenge Ibori’s acquittal by the High Court in Asaba are also among the reasons for her removal. But a source dismissed this as “false” because, according to him, the Ibori matter is at the Court of Appeal where it is being challenged.
Mrs Waziri’s relationship with a certain Victor Uwajeh, according to sources, cast her in not good light in the eyes of government. She reportedly denied knowing Uwajeh, until the man produced pictures showing her with Mrs Waziri at a party.
Hillary Clinton’s assessment of the EFCC under Waziri also played a role.
The London Metropolitan Police cut ties with the EFCC over the Ibori case while other partners, like the UK Serious Fraud Office, also gave the agency a wide berth, according to the sources, who added that the loss of credibility was responsible for the doubts that trailed the recent arraignment of some PDP governors.
But another source dismissed these reasons as “lies”. He said the EFCC played a key role in bringing Ibori to Britain, providing key information in the case against the former governors.
Prior to her sack, a cabinet member was said to have made an ambassadorial offer to Mrs Waziri as a “soft-landing” option.
As at 6pm last night, Mrs Waziri was yet to receive her sack letter even when she was expected to vacate the office with immediate effect.
A source said: “No one has told her officially that she has been removed, she only heard through a third party and on television.
“It could also not be ascertained if the statement by the presidential spokesman will suffice as her sack letter because she was appointed through an official letter.”
Asked how Mrs Waziri received the news of her sack, the source said: “She was in the middle of a crucial meeting when she got the news. They did not even have the courtesy to confide in her and thank her for services to this country.
“Her phones were ringing endlessly but she was engrossed with the meeting, until she managed to pick a call from one of her key aides, who was in transit to Makurdi. The aide broke the news.”
Mrs Waziri is due to be conferred with an honourary degree at the Benue State University on Saturday.
Pressure from some bigwigs and influential politicians is believed to have led to her ouster.
A source said: “The threats of sack have been on in the last two years. If she is not a strong woman, she would not have survived up till this moment. It is just a miracle that she lasted this long in office.
“Some PDP stalwarts have done an analysis of the Politically Exposed Persons prosecuted so far and they have been alleging that Mrs. Waziri does not want to touch those in the opposition.
“They alleged that Mrs. Waziri is pursuing some agenda against the ruling party. They accused her of being soft towards those in opposition.
“The recent trial of some ex-governors in the Southwest created upset within the ruling party as some chieftains of the PDP allegedly accused Mrs. Waziri of aiding the opposition to foreclose the fortunes of the party in the zone.
Responding to a question, the source said some bigwigs accused her of being incommunicado.
The source added: “For instance, the day Chief Bode George was to be arrested in Abuja, she was incommunicado, such that no one could prevent the operation. That scenario pained some influential politicians who have vowed not to forgive her.
“The manner in which Chief Kenny Martins was arrested and the case disposed of was said to have angered some powers that be.
A source said: “Those complaining of one-sided trials have forgotten that the EFCC consults with the Presidency extensively for approval before moving against any high-profile suspect.
“Also, the PDP has produced more governors and ministers than any party. So, the ratio of trial cannot be even.”
It was gathered however that the government indirectly passed a message to Waziri through a Minister about two weeks ago with the offer of a posting as an Ambassador.
But, according to sources, Mrs. Waziri was “not forthcoming” as she could not understand why the offer was necessary when her term ought to expire next June.
One of the sources said: “The outgoing EFCC chairman, whose tenure would end in June 2012, was at a loss at the strange offer and could not make any sense out of it.
“She did not make any commitment on the offer even when the Minister was pressurising her to take a swift decision.
“I think she did her normal checks and there was no sign of any threat to her job. She also believes that the President has not put her into confidence on the likelihood of any change. Her removal today has now shown that the cabinet member was talking in parable.”