Date Published: 11/15/09
Mrs. Farida Waziri: An x-ray By Olusheyi Olusheyi
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, was established in 2002 by an act of the National Assembly which was amended in 2004. The creation of the commission was borne mainly by the determination of the federal government to reshape the Nigerian economic environment by enforcing all economic and financial crimes laws.
The EFCC was established in pursuant to these objectives, as the financial watchdog of all business cooperation with the mandate to cleanse the system.
In 2008, a new chairman was appointed for the commission, in the person of Farida Mzamber Waziri (Mrs.), retd Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), and with her appointment, brings strong qualifications and impeccable professional competencies spanning 35 years of work and experience in the Nigeria Police.
Mrs. Waziri enlisted into the Nigeria Police Force in 1965/1966 and rose to the position of Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) as a result of diligence and by continuous training. An officer with vast crime fighting experience, she was Assistant Commissioner of Police (Operations), screening and selection, Assistant/Deputy Commissioner of Police Force C.I.D Alagbon, Lagos, Commissioner of Police, General Investigation; Commissioner of Police in charge of X-Squad where she was saddled with the responsibility of dealing with cases of bribery and corruption within the Force and other cases of fraud reported to CID Alagbon, Lagos. She also served as Commissioner of Police (special fraud unit) and is credited with recording the first ever conviction for Advance Fee Fraud in Nigeria .
Author of Advance Fee Fraud, National Security and the Law, Mrs. Waziri is a member of several organizations, including Chief of Police Association, USA , International Association of Women Police, Soroptismist of Nigeria, Life member, Federation of Women Lawyers and is Vice President, Alumni Association of the National Defence College.
A highly resourceful Police officer, Waziri was highly sought after at intellectual gatherings within and outside the country, where she presented papers and led discussions on crime detection and control measures. Among other assignments, she led the West African delegation on Advance Fee Fraud to Lyons , France in 1996 and was also the leader of Nigeria delegation to Dallas , Texas for a seminar organized by the United State Secret Service in 1998.
A trained lawyer, she obtained her law degree from the University of Lagos , 1992, before proceeding to the Nigerian Law School same year. Mrs. Waziri also holds a Masters degree in Law from the Lagos State University . In 1996, she graduated with a Masters Degree in Strategic Studies from the University of Ibadan .
Having been in office as Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for a little less than two years now, very little is known about Farida Waziri's life outside office.
On the job, she comes across as an unyielding crusader at the forefront of the war against corrupt practices, but she is also a mother of four and wife of 2nd Republic Senator cum one-time ambassador to Turkey , Senator Ajuji Waziri.
Mrs. Waziri is a tough and disciplined anti-graft crusader and a very hard worker. She has not engaged in partisan political activity and has a deserved reputation for being unafraid of pursuing those in her sights. She is well thought of in police circles in Nigeria as well as among the lawyers and judges with whom she works.
Up till date, her record speaks for itself as she has continuously been fighting to sanities the economic by ensuring that for once, things must be done the right way. She has successfully recovered over N170 Billion of supposedly bad bank debt. This development no doubt, brought about the 10% blackmail; an allegation which is only targeted at distracting her from the sanitation of the banking Sector and revamping the economy.
“Fighting corruption is most times, a very lonely venture. What I go through is unprecedented - the intrigues, gang-ups and backstabbing, but God gives me comfort. The fact that I don't do anything illegal, like manufacturing evidence, gives me comfort. If you do the right thing and have a clear conscience, you will not be bothered. It is the grace of God that has brought me to EFCC." Why would anybody threaten the innocent woman in the course of her performing her duties?
Recently, it was in the news, how she was threatened by some ministers, government officials and influential Nigerians over the arraignment in court of Chief Olabode George, a former Deputy national Chairman of the ruling party, PDP. She said and I quote “I brought out the case file of chief Bode George from where it was buried…there was really no threat, blackmail and pressure that I did not receive, but then we were strictly guided by the fact before us we were unmoved.” She even had to change her mobile lines to blackout the pleasure. This was however not the first time, she would explain; while on the case of the Vaswani brothers, she said she was also threatened.
Come to think of it, why would a foreigner come to our own beloved country with the sole aim of just enriching himself, corrupting institutions in our country, committing money laundering and economic sabotage, an offence they can not commit a quarter in there own country or anywhere in the would.
For example in China , they would be executed straight away if they try such nonsense. But the perception globally is that Nigeria is corrupt and you can get away with anything; they want to come here and get rich by flaunting our Laws.
Why threatening her? As regarding Olabode George, he was the “director general” of the election of the President in 2007, it probably might be a kind of suicidal for Waziri to arrest and arraign the former deputy national chairman of the PDP in court for corruption.
On a recent conviction of Bode George, the ruling actually is not only a plus and an elixir for our judicial process, but more importantly, the war against corruption and other forms of economic crimes is not what a few, Farida and EFCC, can fight alone. It is a battle for all Nigerians to get involved in. This is the basis for the mass mobilization and awareness campaign initiative tagged, Anti-Corruption Revolution Campaign, ANCOR. She must not be a candidate to be threatened. She must left alone to do her job and do it well.
I will say up to date she as been an impeccable tool against corruption as her most recent war to ensure Bode George pays for his crimes and be put behind bar became successful recently, proves to the world that she meant business, a woman of her word. In fact, I will call her an iron lady, walking where angels fear to thread.
Olusheyi Olusheyi, Lagos