A former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mrs. Farida Waziri, has urged the Federal Government on the need to shift focus to crime prevention and not just prosecution as it was difficult to recover stolen funds especially those stashed in notorious tax havens like the Cayman Islands, Seychelles and Bermuda.
Waziri said this in Abuja on Tuesday while delivering a speech at the inauguration of the Nigerian Women Against Corruption project which was organised by the EFCC and the wife of the President, Aisha Buhari.
The former EFCC boss, who was in charge of the agency between 2008 and 2011, said some politicians had stolen so much that they could no longer quantify their wealth. She said some politicians owned houses that will qualify as Cathedrals on every continent of the world because they did not know what to do with stolen funds.
Waziri said, “I sit down sometimes and wonder what corrupt Nigerians are thinking of. Somebody gets a big position and thinks he needs a big house in the United States, He buys a Mansion. He wants a house in Europe, buys another one. Du;ai , buys one and he is still not satisfied. He then jets out to South Africa to buy one. I went to Pretoria and I was taken to a street which was vacated by De Boers, the white farmers who had left South Africa and I was shown houses owned by Nigerians. They looked like cathedrals to me.
“They looked like haunted houses and when these Nigerians travel to South Africa, they can’t stay there so they lodge in hotels. So, what is the aim? What goes on in their minds? And that is why I said that before the government employs anyone to positions of authority, let them be medically examined. They need psychiatric test.”
She argued that the funds stolen from Nigeria had turned some countries into banana republics and could plunge Nigeria into deeper crisis.
Also speaking, the acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, urged women to be actively involved in the fight against corruption as the United Nations had stated in a report that women were the most affected by corruption.
Quoting Napoleon Bonaparte, the famous French General, he said, ‘give me good mothers and I will give you a great nation.’ There is no gainsaying that women, especially mothers, have a significant influence on the direction the society takes; every generation is raised and nurtured by women.”
The wife of the President also urged Nigerian women to internalise the ‘Change Begins With Me’ campaign.
Mrs. Buhari said she and the Vice-President’s wife, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo, had not received any gifts since their husbands took office.
She said, “People have been trying to bring some gift items to me but I have not been collecting them. Right from when I was campaigning with the wife of the Vice-President for our husbands, we did not take a dime from anyone and we have continued like that till today. I have never collected any gift and I am not ready to do so even in the future.”