I Sacked Ex-EFCC Chair, Waziri to Protect National Interest, Says Jonathan

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Former President Goodluck Jonathan has restated that his administration sacked the former boss of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mrs. Farida Waziri to protect the interest of the country.

Reacting to a claim by Waziri in her new book that she was removed from office because she was probing some oil racketeers, Jonathan’s spokesman, Mr. Ikechukwu Eze said in a statement yesterday that the former president had no personal issues with the former EFCC boss.

Jonathan disclosed that when he assumed office as President on May 6, 2010, he had decided to retain Waziri, who was appointed by the late President Umaru Yar’Adua, despite obvious disenchantment from many Nigerians and mounting international pressure against her continued stay in office.

The former president said he initially stood by her because of his conviction that every public officer should first be given the opportunity to deliver on his or her mandate.

He added that at a point, he had to let her go in the national interest, adding that her removal therefore has a lot to do with reasons relating to Nigeria’s interest and global standing.

Jonathan however declined to provide the details, saying that he is obliged to keep the details as state secret in the national interest.

“It is very important to note that when dealing with the interest of the nation and the performance of the functions of a public office, a determined leader cannot prioritise the interest of an individual,” he said.

“It, therefore, bears repeating here that Mrs Waziri’s removal as chairperson of EFCC had absolutely nothing to do with her purported refusal to desist from probing any oil individual. This claim sounds rather superficial and contradicts available evidence of the then government’s genuine efforts to combat oil subsidy racketeering.

It is noteworthy that throughout President Jonathan’s tenure, he made practical efforts to combat the alleged oil cabals, including directing the stoppage of further payment of fuel subsidy claims to oil importers, and the setting up of the Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede-led committee which had high level representation from all the intelligence agencies including the EFCC, with a mandate to thoroughly investigate the scandals in the industry.

The choice of Aig-Aigboje, a man widely acclaimed for his dependability, as leader of the committee, was a clear demonstration that the President had no personal interest in the matter,” the statement explained.