By Bashir Adefaka
Although the sack, on Wednesday, of the Chairman, Economic and Financial Crime Commissioner, EFCC, Mrs Farida Waziri, was reported to have been described as a rude shock by the commission’s Head of Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Babafemi, the truth stands that many pasts of the retired Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) had a way of playing her out of the system.
Many of the people that registered comments about her sack, which were mostly approving of the presidency’s action, sighted Mrs Waziri’s shoddy handling of Chief James Ibori’s case and her closeness to former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Chief Michael Andoakaa, “who was seen as one of Yar’Adua’s henchmen, who tried to block Dr. Jonathan from becoming president” as some of the reasons she was given the boot out of the foremost anti-graft agency in the country.”
It has however been said that her handling of former Sokoto State Governor and Garkuwan Sokoto, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa’s case exposed the EFCC more to the danger of losing credibility in the eyes of observers, nationally and internationally.
Waziri, who was expected to play a neutral role in entrenching discipline and corruption-free Nigerian society, was accused by many of her politicising the Bafarawa. As a result of that, Alhaji Bafarawa still has such an image-damaging corruption case on him until he is proved otherwise and acquitted by the court.
It would be recalled that on May 29, 2007, the new governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Aliyu Wammakko, alleged that his predecessor, Bafarawa, did not leave a dime in the state coffers. But in a swift move, Alhaji Bafarawa, the following day of May 30, wrote a letter to the EFCC and put same as open letter, paid adverts, in the papers, urging the EFCC to run to Sokoto and close down the state’s accounts to enable the commission and Nigerians determine who was telling lies between him who said he left over N11 billion in the state’s coffers and his fresh successor who said he did not.
The concluding part of the former Sokoto governor’s petition to EFCC read, in part, “Mr. Chairman, I consider this to be a calculated attempt not only to create confusion to achieve some ulterior motives but also to tarnish my heard-earned integrity. I will therefore like to appeal to the Chairman of the Commission to take urgent steps to freeze all State Government Accounts in Sokoto State so as to allow for a thorough investigation to confirm the actual funds left behind by our administration. This will go along way in protecting our image and bringing sanity in the state.”
Bafarawa’s letter stated on May 3, 2007 but the EFCC didn’t act until one year after when, according to Bafarawa, in an exclusive interview he granted Saturday Vanguard, which was published with title “EFCC should be ashamed of itself”, the preparation for re-run of governorship election in the state was heating up.
Many were worried that the EFCC under Farida Waziri did not act on the Garkuwa’s letter until one year after, which posed disgusting questions as to what particularly was her interest.