Posted by Reuters on
Olusegun Obasanjo, the president of Nigeria, has sacked his environment minister, weeks after the national assembly accused him of corruption, the president's spokesperson has announced.
Olusegun Obasanjo, the president of Nigeria, has sacked his environment minister, weeks after the national assembly accused him of corruption, the president's spokesperson has announced. It was the latest in a series of dismissals of senior officials as Obasanjo waged war against corruption in Africa's most populous country.
"The minister of environment, Iyorchia Ayu, has been relieved of his appointment," Remi Oyo, the spokesperson, said in a statement, without giving any specific reason for the sacking. The senate and house of representatives last month accused Ayu of inflating the cost of some buildings he bought for a government agency last year when he was internal affairs minister, and pocketing the difference.
Ayu has denied the accusation.
The former minister told reporters he was not fired, but had resigned to concentrate on clearing his name. "I am rather baffled that I can be accused of inflating prices of properties, when all the checks and balances made it difficult for anybody to do so," Ayu said. "I therefore submitted my letter of resignation to the president this morning."
Ayu, third to go
Ayu is the third minister to go since Obasanjo began his high-profile crackdown on corruption and mismanagement of public funds in the world's eighth biggest oil exporter.
In April, Obasanjo fired Mobolaji Osomo, his housing minister, for her involvement in the sale of government properties below market value to some 200 top officials, including members of the president's family, ministers and state governors.
In March, Fabian Osuji, Nigeria's education minister, was dismissed over his role in a bribe-for-budget scandal involving Adolphous Wabara, the then senate president, who was later removed from that position.
In a separate development today, prosecutors accused a recently impeached state governor of stealing $55 million in public funds. The war on corruption has won Obasanjo plaudits abroad, but many in Nigeria say it is too sporadic to be truly effective, and critics allege that it tends to target opponents of the president or people he doesn't need. - Reuters
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