STATEMENT ON THE REMOVAL OF MRS. FARIDA WAZIRI AS EFCC CHAIRMAN
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) views with grave concern the sudden removal of the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mrs Farida Waziri by President Goodluck Jonathan.
The agency she headed is expected to play a critical role in sanitising the economy as well as stabilising the polity.
The method used in removing her brings forth the need to agitate for the full independence of the anti-graft agency, if it must succeed in its ultimate purpose of ridding our country of financial crimes. It is our view that the head of an agency as sensitive as EFCC should not hold office at the sole pleasure of the President for obvious reasons. This point needs no belabouring as there is ample evidence of Presidential abuse of powers in the past.
Inspite of the speculations in the media, we have reason to believe that Mrs Farida Waziri's removal from office has more to do with stepping on sensitive toes than her failure to do her job. We take particular exception to the holy posturing of the Minister of Justice who suddenly saw nothing good in the work of the agency
Financial and economic crimes have been the bane of our nation. In nearly all sectors of our national economy, there are cases of corrupt practices in high place that are yet to be dealt with.
Not too long ago, the media was awash with revelations on how public officers defrauded Nigerians of several billions of dollars meant to salvage the power sector. Much more recently there have been stunning revelations of how Nigerians were shortchanged by the high and mighty in the privatisation exercise. There have been other high-profile cases of criminality, all of which needed and still need political will to deal with instead of resorting to scapegoatism.
There is urgent need to take steps that will reassure helpless Nigerians and prospective investors that corruption is indeed a criminal offence in Nigeria. This certainly goes beyond playing politics or engaging in witch-hunt for less than honourable reasons.
Every Nigerian must begin to take the issue of corruption seriously as this has been a major obstacle to national development.
Whatever Mrs. Farida Wazir's offence is, removing her won't make the agency operate better if executive interference is allowed to continue.
Head of Information and Public Relations