Farida Waziri had served as Nigeria's chairwoman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission since 2008 and had faced regular criticism over the alleged ineffectiveness of the agency under her watch.
She has been replaced with Ibrahim Lamorde, who served as the agency's acting chairman before Waziri was appointed, a statement said Wednesday. He returned to the agency in December 2010 as director of operations, setting off speculation that he would replace Waziri.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan "has approved the appointment of Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde as the Acting Chairman/Chief Executive of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC," a statement from the president's spokesman said. "The appointment takes immediate effect, and effectively relieves Mrs. Farida Waziri of her position as EFCC Chairman."
Lamorde also served as a deputy to Nuhu Ribadu, who led the agency from 2003 until he was forced out in late 2007.
Human Rights Watch in a report released in August said the agency has been hobbled by incompetence, internal graft allegations and suspicions of political interference. The report made reference to graft allegations against the EFCC under Waziri, as well as the widespread perception that she has been ineffective.
The US-based rights group said it could find no concrete evidence of corruption, but called for Jonathan's administration to examine Waziri's performance. It also pointed out that the commission faces enormous obstacles in carrying out its work in Nigeria, where corruption is deeply rooted and part of everyday life in all levels of society.