Thursday, November 24, 2011

Jonathan sacks Waziri after night Villa meeting

President Goodluck Jonathan President Goodluck Jonathan
UNKNOWN to many, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) chairperson Mrs Farida Waziri’s fate was sealed at a night meeting at the Presidential Villa on Tuesday.
Mrs Waziri was yesterday removed from office by President Goodluck Jonathan, who replaced the retired Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) with Ibrahim Lamorde, the Director of Operations of the anti-graft agency.
At the meeting were the President and “at least one minister, a woman”, according to sources who pleaded not to be named because of what they described as the “sensitivity of the matter”.
Mrs Waziri, said a source, is believed to be the source of some “sensitive” information, which is seen in official circles to be “unfavourable” to some highly placed government officials.
“It was immediately concluded that Mrs Waziri had to go as she was believed to be the only likely source of the information,” the source said.
There was no official confirmation of the meeting last night.
Mrs Waziri’s removal was announced suddenly in the morning while the President was airborne – on his way to France. She was not informed.
The situation at the headquarters of the anti-graft commission was gloomy yesterday. Members of the staff were sober, shocked by the announcement.
The three-paragraph statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, which announced Mrs Waziri’s removal reads: “President Goodluck Jonathan has approved the appointment of Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde as the Acting Chairman/Chief Executive of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
“The appointment takes immediate effect, and effectively relieves Mrs. Farida Waziri of her position as EFCC Chairman. Mrs. Waziri was appointed EFCC Chairman by the Late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua on May 18, 2008 and confirmed by the Senate on May 27, 2008.
“Mr. Lamorde, an officer of the Nigeria Police, was, until this appointment, the Director of Operations.
He was also acting chairman of the EFCC before Mrs. Waziri assumed duty at the Commission.”
Although the statement was silent on why Waziri was removed, the President’s action is in exercise of his powers in Section 3 of the EFCC Act, which states: “The Chairman and members of the commission other than ex-officio members shall hold office for a period of four years and may be reappointed for a further term of four years and no more.
“A member of the Commission may at any time be removed by the President for inability to discharge the functions of his office (whether arising from infirmity of mind or body or any other cause) or for misconduct or if the President is satisfied that it is not in the interest of the Commission or the interest of the public that the member should continue in office.”
A source said yesterday: “The EFCC chairman is expected to complete her tenure in June 2012.
“No one can say what informed her removal but she has definitely stepped on toes with the trial of some former governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“Some members of the ruling party have not been happy with her. But she discharged her duties creditably.”
Another source said: “I think the United States has not been comfortable with her pace. When President Jonathan came on board as acting President, the US Government sought a drastic change in EFCC.”