A former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Farida Waziri has revealed that Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Shehu Musa Yar’Adua were wrongly jailed for their alleged roles in the 1995 coup attempt in Nigeria.
She disclosed that the final report of the special investigative panel that worked on the trial of the alleged coup plotters was greatly influenced by some people in government as at that time.
Waziri served in the legal team that worked with the panel on the trial of the alleged coup plotters and made the shocking revelations in her new memoir entitled, ‘Farida Waziri: One Step Ahead’.
She was quoted by The Nation as revealing that Obasanjo was not guilty while Yaradua was also falsely charged for treason after he was framed up.
She said Yar’Adua’s chief accuser had later confessed that he framed him up.
“Caught in a web of lies, he later confessed that an SSS operative gave him a written report, with the instruction to copy the information about Yar’Adua’s involvement in the coup,” she wrote.
“After reviewing the evidence, the legal team agreed on treasonable felony for Yar’Adua. The basis was that he might have known about the coup, but it could not be proved. We drafted charges for a treasonable felony and closed for the day.
“The next morning began on a dramatic note…General Yar’Adua’s indictment had changed to treason. I could hardly contain my anger: “What is this? Didn’t we all agree yesterday on treasonable felony?” None of them replied.
“They sat in subdued silence. I was so upset for this blatant interference with judicial due process that I dropped the file and abandoned the morning session.
“I went home and told Ajuji, my husband, what happened. Just be careful was all he said. That was hardly satisfactory to me. I headed to the Force Headquarters to complain to the Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Ibrahim Coomasie.
“We know what is happening,” he said. “Sometimes, there are things beyond our power to control or influence. So it was that General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua was sentenced for treason.”
On Obasanjo, Waziri said she and another colleague on the legal team agreed that something was not right about the allegations against him.
“First, General Obasanjo was a superior military officer to all those at the helm of the current government. Second, most of the officers with whom he allegedly conspired were not even commissioned into the Nigerian Army when he was a ranking officer,” she said.
Waziri noted that on one occasion during the trial, she wanted to go and prepare food for Obasanjo but was warned on the dangers and implications of such action.
“One evening after an interrogation session, it was getting late, and Obasanjo, a diabetic patient, was waiting for his meal of beans from his farm in Ota.
“There was a delay in getting the meal to him. He was in a great deal of discomfort as his blood sugar level began to drop. Feeling sorry for him, I approached the senior officer and offered to dash home, not far, to prepare a meal of beans for him. The officer smiled and said nothing.
“I missed the message. Another officer pulled me aside and cautioned me about getting involved with the detainees, to avoid getting implicated. “What if you prepare food for him and something happens?”
“The legal team ultimately sentenced General Obasanjo to death; the sentence was commuted to 30 years in prison, and the transitional government of General Abdulsalami Abubakar pardoned and released him from jail,” she narrated.