Nigerian Presidency Mum On Rumored Chief-Of-Staff Dismissal

By Rafiu Ajakaye

Lagos - Nigeria's presidency has kept mum regarding reports that powerful Presidential Chief-of-Staff Mike Oghiadomhe had been sacked following allegations of involvement in a multibillion-dollar scam that has rocked the nation's oil industry.

"I can neither confirm nor deny the report. The press will be briefed if the report is true," Ahmad Gulak, President Goodluck Jonathan's spokesman for political affairs, told Anadolu Agency on Monday.

Comments on Oghiadomhe's rumored dismissal were grist for Nigerian social media networks on Monday, followed by unconfirmed reports on the incident in some local media outlets.

Presidential spokesman Reuben Abati did not respond to AA's numerous requests for comment.

A senior presidential aide, however, appeared to confirm Oghiadomhe's alleged departure.

"His resignation, which was a sort of 'advice to resign' arrangement, took effect from today," the source told AA, requesting anonymity as he was not authorized to speak on the matter.

He declined to say, however, whether Oghiadomhe's exit was linked to the petroleum scam.

Oghiadomhe, a former deputy governor of Edo State, is a personal friend of Jonathan and wields enormous power as presidential chief-of-staff.

Last week, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi told parliament that the state-owned Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had failed to account for a whopping $20 billion in oil proceeds.

"Of the $67 billion that the NNPC shipped, $47 billion had been repatriated to the CBN," Sanusi told Nigeria's senate finance committee.

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