By Sunny Igboanugo:
• Faces Sack From Presidency
Farida Waziri is under pressure from Aso Rock to re-arrest former Delta State Governor, James Ibori, and may lose her job as Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairman if she does not succumb.
She had on March 21 launched a counter offensive with the argument that the attacks on her and on other EFCC officials, which led to the death of one in Owerri on March 19, are politically motivated.
“I am a frustrated woman,” because the EFCC lacks the enabling environment to function effectively, Waziri told reporters in Abuja.
It was learnt on Thursday that she is being pressed by Ibori’s adversaries to arrest him, a scheme which allegedly has the backing of Acting President Goodluck Jonathan.
She was reportedly handed the mandate by Jonathan’s Principal Secretary, Mike Oghiadomhe, after a meeting in the Villa with the key players in the renewed campaign “to cage Ibori” ahead of the 2011 elections.
They also want to pay him back for being in the camp of President Umaru Yar’Adua, and for allegedly not supporting Jonathan’s Acting Presidency.
They are said to be pursuing the ‘Ibori matter’ from all prongs, including revving up the media and civil society groups, to ensure the campaign is sold to the international community.
Former EFCC Chairman, Nuhu Ribadu, who has been having a running battle with Ibori, is reported to be in the mix, and is angling to take the driving seat: with or without Waziri taking action.
For now, Waziri, who is said to be hard put on what to do, since the EFCC currently has nothing against Ibori, is being asked to use a petition written by Ijaw leader, Edwin Clark.
Clark alleged in the petition that Ibori used 528 million units of Delta State Government owned shares in Oceanic Bank to obtain a private loan from Intercontinental Bank for a private company in which he had interest.
He also alleged that Ibori disposed of the shares to offset the balance of the loan.
Clark has been after Ibori for handing over to Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan in 2007, rather than to an Ijaw man.
Waziri is said to have investigated the allegations by Clark, without prompting from the Villa; and found nothing tangible.
She is equally under pressure to clip the wings of Bayelsa State Governor, Timipre Sylva, for reportedly dolling out N2 billion to stop Jonathan from assuming full Presidential powers.
Sylva acknowledged that much on Wednesday during a visit to two of his Commissioners in Kuje Prison.
But he dared his traducers to unmask themselves and declare an open fight.
A source noted that, “In the last few weeks, the Ibori matter has suddenly become prominent in the media. You saw the report of the United States on Nigeria’s anti-graft war and how it eventually dovetailed to the issue of Ibori.
“If you read it properly, you could see that it was the hand of Ribadu and the voice of the U.S. You could also notice that one media house or anoher has written about how Ibori is to be extradited to Britain to face trial, even when it is obvious from the facts that he is presently not under trial anywhere in the world.
“On Monday, another newspaper reported that he has gone into hiding, when he is going about freely. All these add up to the preparation for the main action.
“It is simply the style of (former President Olusegun) Obasanjo they are using – in which they arrest you on any flimsy reason or keep you in the cooler and look for reasons later.
“So, anything can happen at any time, though we pray that God will not allow us to return to the era of impunity and official witch hunting again.”
Oghiadomhe was said to have pointedly told Waziri at a recent meeting in Aso Rock that nothing short of Ibori’s arrest would appease Jonathan.
That was after Waziri had met with Jonathan himself who told her to see Oghiadomhe for further instructions.
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