Mrs. Farida Waziri

A former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mrs. Farida Waziri, has expressed joy at the completion of the N24billion office of the commission in Abuja.

Waziri who initiated the project during her tenure said yesterday that she was pleasantly shocked by the ability of the acting chairman of the anti-graft agency, Mr. Ibrahim Magu to bring the plan to fruition.

Magu, according to her, has shown example of why continuity is necessary in governance in Nigeria.

Speaking during a visit to the 10-storey complex, Mrs. Waziri said: “My first reaction was that of shock and excitement.

“Shock, because when we went to lay the foundation stone, it was total bush that was there. There was no single building in that area and we had a lot of canopies. This edifice standing is so beautiful.

“I have not been to Trump Tower but it looks like Trump Tower to me.

“Somebody asked me: Is that EFCC headquarters? He said he thought it was an oil company and I said no, it is EFCC headquarters.

“So I was so happy and I felt so proud that I thought about the project. And also I didn’t just think about it but I took positive steps to initiate it.”

Waziri said if successive administrations in the country could embrace continuity like President Muhammadu Buhari’s government has done, Nigeria would be better off.

She added: “I had the vision and I will say Magu actualized it and that is how it should be in a country like Nigeria. There should be continuity in government. It should not be that when someone starts something, you come in and because you didn’t start it, you trample on it and say it is not good enough.

“It is happening every day in our life and in this country especially at state levels. A governor comes up with a project, another will dismantle it.”

The EFCC on Thursday had a test-run management meeting at the complex ahead of its inauguration by President Buhari.

Waziri initiated the project as a result of congestion at the present headquarters of the agency in Wuse II, Abuja.

Following a memo presented by a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Yayale Ahmed, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on November 24, 2010 approved N18b for the construction of the new 10-Storey building to house the Headquarters of the EFCC.

It was gathered that a poor timeline for the release of funds delayed the completion of the project leading to a variation of the contract sum by the construction giant, Julius Berger Plc.

Speaking with our correspondent, EFCC Acting Chairman, Magu said he was “excited that the new headquarters is ready for use.”

He added: “The Federal Government has spent over N24billion to build. But I will later crosscheck to give you the exact figure.

“I thank Mr. President for according this project a priority. It is part of his commitment to the anti-graft war. This is a legacy project which many generations will be proud of.

“No leader in Africa has provided a conducive environment for an anti-corruption agency like President Buhari has done.

“We have also received support from ministers and all MDAs on release of funds and putting necessary infrastructure in place. “This commission is grateful to the National Assembly for their interest in the project. Many of these leaders including Speaker Yakubu Dogara, the Deputy Senate President, Dr. Ike Ekweremadu, the chairmen and members of all the committees on anti-corruption had always visited the site to monitor the progress of work. It shows that if we are determined, we can all be on the same page in this war against corruption. It is not a personal thing at all.”

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