The Presidency on Wednesday announced via a statement that the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFFC, Faridah Waziri has been relieved of her job.
The statement also announced the appointment of Ibrahim Lamorde, the EFCC’s Director of Operations as the Acting Chairman of the Commission.
Street Journal had reported months ago that the former Chairman could get the boot anytime. She had variously been criticised for being incompetent. Most of the cases she handled ended without convincing results that she was really out to fight corruption. Plea bargain seems to have become the option for people accused of graft after which they are let off with sentences that seem to be more or less slaps on the wrist.
The EFCC under Waziri was also accused of doing shoddy investigations which often left loopholes which were exploited by accused persons who found it easy to wriggle out and evade conviction. The commission found itself in an embarrassingly funny situation with the James Ibori episode. The case ended with Ibori being absolved of the over 100 counts brought against him. That was however not enough to change Ibori’s status as a wanted man in the United Kingdom. Not a few Nigerians were surprised when the EFCC released a list of wanted persons in 2010 and James Ibori’s name was absent.
Street Journal gathered that Mrs. Waziri’s sack might not be unconnected with pressures from foreign governments that she has not been effective as far as waging war against corruption is concerned. Street Journal’s investigations revealed that one of the foreign missions released some documents which indicted some EFCC officials to the Federal Government. One of them was alleged to have bought a property in England, the value of the said property runs into hundreds of thousands of pounds sterling.
Incidentally, Faridah Waziri’s incompetence was not just a cause of concern to Nigerians alone, a leaked Wikileaks cable revealed that in the course of a conversation with an American Ambassador, Hon. Dimeji Bankole, the then House of Representatives Speaker was quoted as saying the EFCC under Faridah was “not worth a penny”. To many, that was Bankole’s undoing as the agency beamed its searchlight on him immediately his term of office wound up. Many have opined that though the former Speaker might not be innocent, his sins would probably have been overlooked if he had not spoken against the woman at the helm of affairs at the EFCC.
That led to insinuations that Faridah Waziri had scores to settle with some people who were being prosecuted in the name of fighting corruption. In some quarters, it is believed that she had a personal axe to grind with Senator Danjuma Goje, the former Governor of Gombe State. It was gathered that the former Governor frustrated Mrs. Waziri’s husband’s efforts at becoming a Senator in the last elections.
Apart from allegations that she has been “selective” in the prosecution of graft offenders, a group recently used the provisions of the Freedom of Information Bill to expose some hitherto unknown facts about the EFCC Chairman. Contrary to the widely held belief that Mrs. Waziri retired as an Assistant Inspector General of Police, it was revealed that Mrs. Waziri retired in year 2000 as a Commissioner of Police after 35 years of service