Lagos – Human Rights activists, opposition politicians and civil society groups, on Wednesday described the removal of Mrs Farida Waziri as chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), as a welcome development.
Presidential spokesman, Reuben Abati, on Wednesday said that the Federal Government has approved the appointment of Mr Ibrahim Lamorde as the Acting Chairman/Chief Executive of the EFCC.
According to Abati, Larmode’s appointment took immediate effect.
Waziri was appointed EFCC Chairman by Late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua on May 18, 2008.
Her appointment was confirmed by the Senate on May 27, 2008.
In a swift reaction, Human Rights lawyer, Mr Bamidele Aturu, told NAN that Waziri’s removal was a very good development for the EFCC.
“We have called severally for her removal in the past. It is true we want to see the development of the EFCC as an institution ,but we need people who are interested in waging war vigorously against corruption.
“The Presidency must not look for a replacement that would be interested in occupying the position for the sake of it,but a credible official that would be committed to the tenets establishing the EFCC,’’ he said.
Aturu also said that there was need for the National Assembly to amend the constitution to enable people from outside the Police Force to head the Commission.
Also Speaking, Chief Maxi Okwu, President, Patriotic Alliance of Nigeria (PAN), an association of opposition political parties, described Waziri’s removal as “a breath of fresh air” and urged the Federal Government to seriously consider confirming Lamorde.
“Lamorde should be confirmed because he has a pedigree and a potential to do well,’’ Okwu said.
According to Okwu, the anti-corruption war declined drastically under Waziri as she did not live up to the expectations of Nigerians.
In his reaction, Director, International Press Center (IPC), Mr Lanre Arogundade, said that the EFCC needed to be strengthened and its stability ensured.
Arogundade said that Waziri’s removal came as a surprise, but the government must assure Nigerians that it was still committed to fighting corruption.
Meanwhile, the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO) has urged the Federal Government to look for Waziri’s replacement from civil society and Human Rights groups in Nigeria.
Lagos State Chairman of the CLO, Mr Ehi Omokhuale, told NAN that that the EFCC could not perform optimally if it was headed by a corrupt person.
He said that Waziri’s removal was long overdue as civil society groups had long called for her sack.
NAN reports that Lamorde was, until this appointment, the Director of Operations of the EFCC.
He was also Acting Chairman of the EFCC before Mrs Waziri assumed duty at the Commission. (NAN)