The ex-chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Farida Waziri, has said that the Special Investigation Panel (SIP), who worked on the trial of the alleged coup charged against Olusegun Obasanjo and Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, knew that the duo were innocent of the charges against them.
According to Waziri, who served in the legal team that worked with the Special Investigation Panel, the team detected that Obasanjo who served as head of state was not guilty and also that Yar’Adua was falsely charged for treason which the panel could not prove.
Farida Waziri, who was quoted by The Nation, from her memoir which she titled, ‘Farida Waziri: One Step Ahead’ said that “Sometimes, there are things beyond our power to control or influence. So it was that General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua was sentenced for treason.”
She further disclosed that the chief witness who blantly stated that he was present at the coup meeting held in Yar’Adua’s home had plotted to frame 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.”
“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.”
Waziri also pointed out the two element which showed that Obasanjo must have been innocent of the crime alleged 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.“
Stating how Obasanjo’s health deteriorated when in prison but could not do anything to help in order to avoid implication, Waziri wrote;
“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.”