By Emmanuel Aziken
Abuja â€” Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mrs. Farida Waziri, yesterday expressed strong reservations to ongoing plans by the Senate to set up a monitoring board to verify allegations of corruption against her and her staff.
Plans for the monitoring body which will jointly monitor the EFCC and ICPC staff were unveiled at the budget defence hearing of the 2010Â N7.68 billion proposed budget of the EFCC.
While Waziri expressed reservation that the monitoring body could compromise the independence of the EFCC, committee members at the budget hearing affirmed that the body was necessary to verify allegations of corruption that come up against operatives of the EFCC and ICPC.
Noting allegations which he said were yet unverified against officials of the two anti-graft agencies, Senator Sola Akinyede, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Anti-Corruption said: â€œWe are having a joint EFCC and ICPC monitoring board to monitor the two organisations and under our proposals both EFCC and ICPC will fund the joint monitoring board.
“The secretary of EFCC and the secretary of ICPC will be joint secretaries and they will be informed and the members of the monitoring committee will not be appointed by the President. They will be appointed by the Chief
Justice of the Federation to ensure that there is no politics in it.
â€œI want you to anticipate this because you are going to be funding this joint monitoring board from your resources,” Senator Akinyede said.
Mrs. Waziri immediately expressed caution with the proposal, expressing concern on how the monitoring body could also be monitored.
â€œI think the intention is good but it is what comes out of it that is the issue. I am forced to run away, I am forced to put off my phone. Those people who is going to watch over them, the body you are going to put over us, they need another body to watch over them too so that they wont interfere unduly.
â€œIt doesnâ€™t stop there, the problem is that this is Nigeria with the extended family system.â€™â€™
With committee members including vice-chairman, Senator Dahiru Kuta and Satty Gogwin among others reiterating the determination of the Senate to set up the oversight body, Mrs. Waziri caved in but cautioned that the monitoring body should not interfere with the routine affairs of the EFCC.