“The current tempo of the fight against the widespread economic corruption in Nigeria has become mired in petty gossips, orchestrated controversial media exchanges between supporters of the erstwhile Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s (EFCC) boss Mr. Nuhu Ribadu and the person of the current chairman of the Commission – Mrs. Farida Waziri.
The lack of focus has made corruption to assume a larger than life dimension in Nigeria and consequently poverty has become even more widespread and organized violent crimes have become unprecedented all across Nigeria.”
Worried by the rapidly diminishing vigor with which the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC] is currently waging the anti-graft battle because of the lack of focus, Human Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, a democracy inclined and development focused non-governmental organization has tasked the acting president Dr. Good luck Jonathan to immediately sack the current Chairman and appoint a statesman or woman to chair the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
In a statement jointly endorsed by its National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and senior program manager Barrister (Miss) Ogom Kifordu, HURIWA stated that it has become imperative for a new chairman to be appointed for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission because the current holder has allowed herself to be distracted by the reported plan of the erstwhile chairman of the commission Mr. Ribadu to return from his self-imposed exile in The United States of America. The Rights body further stated that the current Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC] currently spends more time and resources engaging in meaningless media war against the erstwhile anti-graft czar and also on receiving awards from different interest groups such as the factionalized National Association of Nigerian Students [NANS] and other incongruous groups thereby slowing down and stifling the anti-graft fight.
Providing evidence that the current chairman of the anti-graft panel is distracted and therefore unable to wage unrelenting war against corruption, the Rights body cited recent news reports credited to the EFCC boss Farida Waziri whereby she engaged in media warfare with her predecessor.
Specifically a story in leadership newspaper of Wednesday, April 7th 2010, stated that “the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has described a statement credited to the lawyer of former Chairman of the anti-graft agency, Malam Nuhu Ribadu, on the disposal of assets of convicted persons, as insincere and fraudulent.
In a reaction to claims by Charles Musa, a lawyer to Ribadu, that the present EFCC Chairman, Mrs. Farida Waziri supervised the sale of the assets of former Bayelsa state governor, DSP Alamieyeseigha and those of Emmanuel Nwude, the Commission said the lawyer was being economical with the truth.
The EFCC said that though it is not aware of how the report being disputed by Musa got to the media, it however confirmed that some of the facts in the media reports were part of the findings of a committee which had in the first quarter of 2009 worked on the disposal of assets of convicted persons.”
HURIWA also cited a news report in Thisday of 6th, April 2010 whereby the law chambers of Charles Musa & Co., refuted Economic and Financial Crimes Commission; (EFCC’s) alleged corruption charges against the former EFCC chairman, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, saying the charges are baseless. A statement from the legal practitioner made available to Thisday said, “Our attention has been drawn to orchestrated media coverage in a number of publications suggesting that Ribadu, as Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), fraudulently sold assets seized from convicted fraudsters like Mr. Tafa Balogun; Mr. Emmanuel Nwude; and Mr. DSP Alamieyeseigha.…”
The Rights group lamented that while cases of corruption has become disturbingly widespread especially among bureaucrats in the federal ministries and other politically exposed public office holders, even as the public infrastructures of roads, electricity supply and the Nigerian Railways have collapsed under the weight of corruption, the anti-graft officials are engaged in meaningless self-glorifying media propaganda with and against some imaginary enemies of the Chairman- Mrs. Farida Waziri.
HURIWA advised the Federal government to appoint a tested and trusted patriotic Nigerian without political baggage or “parochial loyalties” to champion a renewed fight against corruption if Nigeria will ever become a vibrant democracy just as it warned that Nigeria is doomed if the current unprecedented cases of economic crimes by political office holders and civil servants in government ministries are not drastically confronted and defeated. The Rights group stated that corruption in most States of the Federation has made poverty to become so widespread that a preponderant percentage of school leavers and University graduates have roamed the streets for years without any hope of securing gainful employment.
HURIWA also stated that poverty, youth unemployment and corruption are grave national security threats which will continue to threaten the corporate existence of Nigeria especially if the current unprecedented cases of corruption are not vigorously confronted by a determined anti-graft commissions headed by committed patriots.