Former Nigerian president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, has replied to claims by aformer Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mrs. Farida Waziri, that she was removed as head of the anti-graft agency for going after oil thieves.
Jonathan debunked her claims insisting that she was removed purely for the reasons of national interest.
The former Boss of the EFCC reportedly said in her book, “Farida Waziri: One Step” that she was removed as head of the anti-graft agency because of the agency’s investigation of oil thieves.
Waziri said before she was removed, she got a call from the Presidential Villa not to arrest the racketeers but she refused to be compromised on the case.
She also revealed that late Minister of Information Prof. Dora Akunyili knew of the plot to remove her and asked her to beg Jonathan, but she rejected the advice because it was totally against her “conscience and moral judgment.”
She stated that former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Chief Pius Anyim offered her ambassadorial appointment in line with the agenda to oust her from office.
But Jonathan in a statement by his media aide, Mr. Ikechukwu Eze, debunked the claims of the former EFCC boss. The former president said that he retained Mrs. Waziri when he assumed office in spite of international calls for her sack.
Jonathan insisted that he had no personal issues with Mrs. Waziri but had to eventually let her go over national interest.
The statement reads:
”We read media reports credited to the former boss of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mrs. Farida Waziri, in which she claimed in her new book that she was removed from office by ex-President Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, because of her probe of some oil racketeers.
”We thought we had dealt with this matter, after promptly debunking similar statements she made in the past. In 2017 when she claimed that she lost her job because she ‘refused to back down from the probe of one of the mastermindsof the fuel subsidy scam’, we quickly refuted and clarified the claim for the records, and even challenged her to name the individual or company in question.
”We had expected that a book from Mrs. Farida, coming years after the claim was first made, should have towed the path of honour by telling the truth for the benefit of history. Unfortunately, that still didn’t happen.
”It will be recalled that after assuming office as President on May 6, 2010, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan decided to retain Mrs. Waziri, who was appointed by his predecessor, late President Umaru Yar’Adua, as the head of the elite anti-crime agency. Despite obvious disenchantment from many Nigerians and mounting international pressure against Mrs. Waziri’s continued stay in office, the former President stood by her, in line with his conviction that every public officer should first be given the opportunity to deliver on his or her mandate.
”It must be pointed out that former President Jonathan had no personal issues with Mrs. Waziri. The former President had to eventually let her go in the national interest. Her removal therefore has a lot to do with reasons relating to Nigeria’s interest and global standing which details Dr. Goodluck Jonathan is obliged to keep as state secret in our common 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.
”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.”
Upon being sacked after serving as EFCC’s chairman from May 2008 to November 2011, Waziri was replaced with Ibrahim Lamorde.