The Nigerian senate is considering last week’s appointment of Farida Waziri to head the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Waziri is a retired inspector general of police and headed the police Anti-Fraud Unit between 1996 and 1999. So what does this appointment mean for the efforts to root out official corruption in Nigeria?
Sina Loremikan, the southwest coordinator of the group Zero Corruption Coalition, says it will not help President Umaru Yar’Adua in his war on corruption. “It is rather unfortunate. Pieces of information we’ve been trying to gather suggest she is the wife of an ambassador, that some time ago she stood surety for an indicted governor in one of the states in the Niger Delta region. We also know that she is from Benue State; the attorney general is from Benue State. The attorney general, even before his appointment, has been having running battles against those speaking against corruption, so it’s given one a lot of worry.”
Loremikan says Waziri has shown poor judgment in the past by interacting with those suspected of stealing government funds. “We are saying that from where we are coming from, you need to do things that can provide confidence-building in the public. Nigerians are not sure we are fighting corruption. To build that confidence, you need people whose credibility cannot be dragged close to the mud.”
Loremikan says Waziri’s past achievement as an assistant inspector general of police is not enough to make a huge difference in how the anti-graft agency operates. “From the signals we have seen -- some of my colleagues were at the EFCC yesterday; some were there last week -- the tempo is low; the morale is gone.”