Thursday, 27 February 2014
Waziri Faces Calls For Her Ouster Over Halliburton Bribe Case
Farida Waziri, chair of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is facing calls for her immediate removal over a bribery scandal involving the U.S. energy services company Halliburton Inc. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo reportedly benefited in the scheme, which totalled $74 million.
In a protest today staged by members of student and civil society groups at the EFCC Head Office, the demonstrators demanded Waziri’s removal and the prosecution of former President Obasanjo over the matter.
The multi-million dollar payoffs reportedly occurred during the construction of a giant liquefied natural gas plant on the Nigerian coast near Port Harcourt from 1996 through the mid-2000s.
Among the protesting groups were the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Arewa Youth Development Foundation, Democracy Vanguard, Legal Practitioners and Anti-Corruption Crusaders, Nigerian Youth Awareness Initiative, among others.
Defying the heavily armed mobile policemen mounted at the gate, the protesters stormed the premises of the commission. Some of their messages read: Dare Obasanjo, Dare Corruption, Remove Farida Waziri and Attorney General of Federation, Prosecute Obasanjo now.
A statement released to the press read: "We find Halliburton most embarrassing because of the gross financial scandal that has left Nigeria mortally scarred. Yet in the face of this glaring national disgrace, President Jonathan keeps shielding Obasanjo from prosecution.
“Nigeria’s own internal inquiry shows that Olusegun Obasanjo benefited from the Halliburton bribery when the presidential panel of investigation headed by Former Inspector General of Police Mike Okiro revealed that Obasanjo, Atiku and Former NNPC Group Managing Director Gius Obaseki, and Funsho Kupolokun jointly got $74 million (N1.77billion) in the Halliburton bribe."
The group listed its demands:
A---That Olusegun Obasanjo and all those indicted in the Halliburton scandal be immediately arrested and prosecuted.
B---That all cases on the power and transport probes be re-opened immediately.
C-That Farida Waziri be immediately relieved of EFFC's Chairmanship.
D-That a comprehensive re-structuring of the anti-graft agencies be carried out.
The group gave a 14-day ultimatum to meet above-mentioned demands or it would launch a nationwide campaign demanding a mass boycott of the coming general elections. The group also threatened to take the matter beyond Nigeria borders by calling on the international community “to cease all anti-corruption collaboration with Nigerian authorities because they are not sincere.”