NEMA spokesman loses position for criticising Okonjo-Iweala

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Minister of Finance, Okonjo-Iweala

 

National Emergency Management Agency Public Relations Officer, Yushau Shuaibu, has been removed from office for reportedly publishing an article that was critical of the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

Shuaibu’s removal, it was gathered, took place last Thursday.

Besides, there are fears that he might face further sanction from the authorities for daring to raise issues on Okonjo-Iweala’s alleged involvement in the appointment of her relatives to top positions.

Shuaibu in a newspaper article had said, “Dr. Okonjo-Iweala should also note that blatant disregard for the sensitivities and sensibilities of others while arrogantly promoting only people from her tribe may expose them to hatred with potentially explosive consequences such as those experienced in the 1960s when most federal positions were occupied by a particular tribal group.

“For those of us who still respect the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, we strongly believe she should dissociate herself from current allegations of ‘biafranisation’ of top public offices in Nigeria. We are in democratic government where policy issues should not be done in dictatorial manner of ‘we-are-now-in-power’.”

Our correspondents gathered that Okonjo-Iweala had complained about the article to Vice-President Namadi Sambo, who conveyed the minister’s dissatisfaction to the NEMA Director-General, Alhaji Mohammed Sani-Sidi.

It was learnt on Thursday that the finance minister called Shuaibu and reprimanded the NEMA image-maker over the article and even insisted that he should write a rebuttal in some dailies.

A source said, “Okonjo-Iweala was not satisfied with Shuaibu’s explanation that the article was not sponsored and she insisted that he should write a rebuttal. Shuaibu was subsequently removed from his position through a letter last week.”

When contacted, the former NEMA spokesman confirmed  his removal, but declined further comments.

Meanwhile, the minister, who spoke through her Senior Special Assistant, Communication, Mr. Paul Nwabuikwu, said, “I have seen several reports, especially online, which claimed that the Finance Minister is using her power to oppress Mr. Yushau Shuiabu. That is false and unfair. The minister is the one oppressed here.

“Mr. Shuaibu accused her of pursuing an ethnic agenda. But those he mentioned as beneficiaries of the so-called agenda are people who were already in office before she returned as minister.

“So she is the victim of a serial campaign based on lies sponsored by people, who are angry that due process rather than politics is being upheld in the recruitment of a new Chair for Federal Inland Revenue Service.

“But we believe that every part of this country has brilliant people. who have what it takes to go through a competitive process and perform well at any level. No part of Nigeria has a monopoly of capable people. Our history confirms so.

“To invoke the tragic events of 1966 based on these lies so flippantly as he did in the article is indeed unfortunate. I won’t say more than that.”

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