Oladipo Awojobi

A former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mrs Farida Waziri, has reacted to the allegation by her predecessor, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, that she was one of those that frustrated the war against corruption, describing it as a reckless and irresponsible statement and an attempt by Ribadu to remain relevant.

She said Ribadu should rather explain to Nigerians what happened to billions of funds and assets recovered from suspects under him, with no records or documentation.
“He should be grateful to me that I cleaned his mess by creating an Assets Forfeiture Unit to put the records straight and do things rightly,” she said.

Ribadu had alleged that the former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Michael Aondoakaa, and Mrs. Waziri attempted to destroy the anti-graft agency by “inflicting serious damage” on the agency during his tenure.
Ribadu made the allegation in his presentation at the 2016 Annual Lecture organised by the Law Chambers of Chief Joe Kyari Gadzama, with the theme: “Corruption and the Nation’s economy: Lawyers as change agents.”

The former anti-graft agency boss maintained that lawyers were equally doing “serious damage” to the war against corruption.
Insisting that Aondoakaa frustrated the prosecution of so many high profile cases, Ribadu said that the former “later found a partner in Mrs. Farida Waziri who inflicted serious damage on the EFCC from which the commission is still struggling to recover.”

Mrs. Waziri took over from Ribadu as chairman of the EFCC.
In a statement signed by Waziri’s Personal Assistant, Ms Omolara Oluremi, she said: “My attention has been drawn to a reckless and irresponsible statement credited to Nuhu Ribadu at a function on Wednesday in Abuja, where he, as has been his rhetoric since 2008, when I succeeded him as the EFCC Chairman, attempted to malign me by accusing me of being part of his imaginary enemies who frustrated the nation’s anti-graft war.

“My first inclination was to ignore Nuhu since I know he is always obsessed with dropping my name into his script anytime he needs public pity or political relevance but on a second thought I felt I should advise him to leave me out of his frustrations and face life.”

Insinuating that Ribadu has yet to adjust to live outside EFCC, Waziri said: “There should be a life after EFCC. If after eight years of being removed as EFCC Chairman, he is yet to move on with life, even after two successive Chairmen had occupied the same seat and moved on with their lives, then his problem may be psychogenic. He needs help elsewhere, certainly not from me.

“If Nuhu is yet to face the reality that EFCC is a Federal Government Agency and not a personal estate of anybody eight years after, I find it compelling to remind him, otherwise one day he would wake up to blame me for his defeat in the 2011 presidential election and even his pathetic outing in the 2015 governorship election in Adamawa state despite the slush funds deployed to ensure his victory at the polls.

“I equally suspect that Nuhu may sooner than later blame me for his penchant to jump from one party to the party like a political prostitute; from ACN to PDP and now to APC. It is his lust for power, inordinate ambition and desperation for political relevance that continue to push him to dine and wine, and even enjoy the wealth of those he had labeled as corrupt in yesteryears.
“He can’t hold me responsible for his double face, lack of principle and complex contradictions in his character.”

Continuing, she said: “There is also the need to remind Nuhu that before he succumbs to another logorrhea, he should avail himself a copy of the investigative report on recovered assets during his tenure as EFCC Chairman and use the opportunity of the next naming ceremony or birthday party he is invited to, to explain to Nigerians what happened to billions of funds and assets recovered from suspects under him, with no records or documentation.

“He should be grateful to me that I cleaned his mess by creating an Assets Forfeiture Unit to put the records straight and do things rightly.”
She further stated that, “No matter how hard Nuhu tries to obliterate my tenure with his numerous lies, the record of over 450 convictions secured during my three and a half year sojourn in EFCC remains indelible.”

Listing her achievements as EFCC boss, Waziri said: “Though I inherited about 10 high profile cases from him in 2008, we took over 75 of such high profile cases to courts, with another 1,500 low profile cases pending in courts as at my exit in November 2011.

“We initiated and commenced work on the permanent office complex of the EFCC sitting on a 5.5 hectares of land along Airport Road, Abuja, in addition to setting up offices in Maiduguri, Borno State and Ibadan, Oyo State to expand the Commission’s scope of operations. I can go on and on, on my achievements. I have decided to mention just a few for now to discourage Nuhu from claiming the credit for them when next he wants to make himself happy or seek political relevance.”
Waziri advised Ribadu to stop being a weeping man as “garrulity does not heal frustration or depression.”

“He may consider vying for a local government chairmanship or councillorship position to get busy so that he can stop spewing falsehood, fables and lies to seek public sympathy and political relevance,” she added.