LAGOS—Former Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mrs Farida Waziri, said weekend that the decision of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, to set up special courts for trial of corruption cases has vindicated her and laud the CJN for initiatives aimed at strengthening the war against graft in the country.
The former EFCC boss had repeatedly called for creation of special courts during her stint at the anti-graft agency.
Fielding questions from journalists in Lagos, Waziri said she was particularly happy with the CJN for considering the option of setting up special courts to handle corruption cases, stressing that this bold move had, indeed, vindicated her on the crusade she started as chairman of EFCC.
She said: “The CJN is a man after my heart because great minds think alike. Finally, a Daniel has come to judgement. I remember when I began the call for special courts, I went round the leadership of the judiciary and NBA then, I took advantage of every opportunity I had to justify the need for it but many of my adversaries kicked against it because they were desperate for my downfall but I’m glad some of them have joined the crusade today.”
Responding to a question on her reaction to the shocking revelations on the volume of sleaze under the immediate past administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, the former EFCC boss said: “I’m only glad that those things didn’t happen under my watch as EFCC chairman because it would have been too traumatic for me. And that is why If I see ex President Jonathan today, I will kneel down to thank him for the honour done me by removing me as EFCC chairman at the time he did.
“My first strong premonition of what was ahead was when I began the probe of the monumental oil subsidy fraud going on then. I came to Lagos on a vital intelligence on the subsidy scam and as soon as I arrested a key culprit, I got a call from the presidential villa asking me to release the suspect, because according to their words ‘he is our person’, but I refused to let him off and days after I was removed from office.”
On her assessment of the current leadership of the EFCC, she said: “There is no doubt Magu is doing his best within the available space but as I always say, the battle is beyond an individual or an organization.
‘’Every patriotic Nigerian concerned about the future of this great country must support the war, buy into it and take ownership of it because it’s about our collective survival.
‘’One thing going for the present leadership of the commission is the personal support of President Muhammadu Buhari, which is unquantifiable and I appreciate Mr President for this.”