Pioneer Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Nuhu Ribadu has labeled his successor, Farida Waziri a liar in response to her claims that he worked under Mrs. Waziri during their days in the Nigeria Police Force.
Mrs. Waziri in an interview granted “Zero Tolerance,” a magazine published by the media unit of EFCC, slammed former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who was also interviewed by the same magazine, for stating that her tenure severely reversed the gains made by Nigeria in its anti-corruption war under Mr. Ribadu.
Mr. Obasanjo also asserted in the interview that Mrs. Waziri lacked the requisite qualifications and experience to head the EFCC; these comments drew the ire of Mrs. Waziri, who released a terse statement accusing the former president of manipulating the EFCC with Mr. Ribadu as his tool, to seek a third term in office.
While berating Mr. Obasanjo for acting and speaking in a manner that betrays his status as an elder statesman, Mrs. Waziri reeled out some of her academic and professional accomplishments including tutoring Mr. Ribadu and the current chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Lamorde, when they all served in the Nigeria Police.
“To further expose the height of mischief in the allegations,” she said of Mr. Obasanjo’s comments, “the past and present chairmen of the EFCC have both worked under me, yet someone can open his mouth to say I am not qualified to head the same agency.”
But in a statement yesterday, Mr. Ribadu denied those claims and labeled Mrs. Waziri a “merchant of falsehood” who recycles “crooked statements to the point of cliché, in spite of attempts at clarifications.”
He continued, “This is a naked lie that she keeps flaunting to seek undue relevance and validate her own appointment. At no time in my career did I work under the same section or unit as her.”
“In fact, contrary to the Waziri’s claim that she ‘trained’ me, it was I that actually lectured her and others, on fraud investigation and prosecution, when she was newly posted as Head of Special Fraud Unit even though she was my senior in rank,” the former anti-graft czar said in the statement which he personally signed.
“I was then the Head of Prosecution at the Tribunals under the leadership of Mr Sunday Ehindero, then CP Legal,” Mr. Ribadu added.
On the allegation that he was used by Mr. Obasanjo to push the aborted third term agenda, Mr.Ribadu said “It is evident that Mrs Waziri, who was nowhere near EFCC at the time, is ignorant of what transpired.”
Taking exception to his predecessor’s tactic to ridicule the efforts of the young men and women at EFCC, who had put in all their energy in cleaning up the mess in the country created by corruption, Mr. Ribadu said it was “insulting” for Mrs. Waziri to attack the organization.
“EFCC was not about Nuhu Ribadu. Rubbishing its work, therefore, is like insulting all the thousands of its operatives across the country who put their lives on the line to make Nigeria a better country. If Mrs Waziri has a personal score to settle with anybody, she should direct her attack at the person but not the organisation,” Mr. Ribadu said.