Former Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairperson, Mrs. Farida Waziri has taken former ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo to the cleaners over some uncharitable remarks he made about her in a recent interview.
While advising the former president to act and speak with decorum, Mrs. Waziri reminded him that those who live in glass houses do not throw stones.
The former EFCC boss was reacting to an interview Mr. Obasanjo granted “Zero Tolerance”, a magazine published by EFCC in which he rubbished the tenure of Mrs. Waziri as head of the anti-corruption agency.
He was quoted as saying, “I know that the woman (Farida Waziri) they brought in to replace Nuhu Ribadu was not the right person for that job, because I understood that one of those who head-hunted her was Ibori.
“If Ibori, who is now in a United Kingdom (UK) prison for fraud, head-hunt somebody who will fight corruption in Nigeria, then you can understand what happened,” Mr. Obasanjo added.
But Mrs. Waziri in a statement which she personally signed said: “My attention has been drawn to a number of allegations made against me by Mr. Obasanjo. One of such was the alleged involvement of former Delta State Governor James Ibori in my appointment.
“While I hold the office of a Head of State, either serving or retired, in the highest esteem, I will like to put on record for the umpteenth time that this is totally unfounded, blatant lie and arrant falsehood.
“It is, therefore, worrisome when a man who has been twice a Nigerian head of state can descend so low to peddle falsehood. The truth is that I never met Ibori in my life, until after months in office as chairman of the EFCC when I used to see him in the Presidential Villa.
“It is on record today that I initiated the investigation that drove Ibori into the waiting hands of Interpol and Met Police. As such, it is illogical and nonsensical for anyone to continue to insinuate that Ibori has a hand in my appointment.
“I remember this was one of the lies Obasanjo’s sit-tight pawns cooked to stop my appointment as EFCC chairman in 2008.
“On the issue of qualifications raised by Obasanjo, the qualification for appointment as chairman of the Commission as stipulated in its Establishment Act says that the chairman shall ‘be a serving or retired member of any government security or law enforcement agency not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police or equivalent; and possess not less than 15 years cognate experience’.
“The late President Yar’adua did not have to alter the Establishment Act when he was appointing me unlike what Obasanjo did.
“Again for the records, I served in the Nigeria Police Force for 35 years and got to the pinnacle of my career before my appointment as EFCC chairman.”
Mrs. Waziri said if her previous work experience was ever in doubt, the former president can go revisit her records with the Nigeria Police Force because they speak volume of her achievements.
“If Obasanjo’s real age has not blurred his memory, I will like to remind him that I was a Commissioner of Police, Admin Force CID, CP General Investigations, CP Anti-fraud, CP X Squad, CP Police Special Fraud Unit where I secured the first conviction in a case of Advance Fee Fraud in Nigerian history.
“These are all prime investigative organs of the Nigeria Police where I related with other law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, across the world. I must place on record that at SFU, I did not only relate with FBI, Interpol and Met police among others, we carried out joint operations at different times on a number of cases. I have also led the Nigerian delegation to the Interpol headquarters in France.
“To further expose the height of mischief in the allegations, the past and present chairmen of the EFCC have both worked under me, yet someone can open his mouth to say I am not qualified to head the same agency.
“This is in addition to my educational qualifications, such as a first degree in Law, a Masters degree in Law and another Masters degree in Strategic Studies. I doubt if Obasanjo himself can boast of this level of educational qualifications.
“I will also like to remind Obasanjo that no chairman of the EFCC has till date beaten my records in terms of investigation of high profile cases, prosecution, conviction and recovery.
“I will like to warn that those who live in glass house don’t throw stones and, as such, Obasanjo should not allow me open up on him. Respectable elder statesmen act and speak with decorum.”