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Buhari counters power minister, reverses NBET boss dismissal


Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered reversal of the dismissal of the managing director of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company Limited (NBET) Marilyn Amobi by power minister Sale Mamman.

Mamman in December 2019 asked Amobi to step down with immediate effect to “restore sanity” to the management of the agency.

The minister also directed the constitution of a 5-man committee to investigate allegations of mismanagement against Amobi.

But a memo by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation ordered her reinstatement.

Prior to this, Mamman had directed Nnaemeka Ewelukwa, a general manager in NBET to assume office as acting managing director of the agency.

Ewelukwa has been told to vacate the position for Amobi.

A source in the Ministry of Power confirmed the development to The Guardian on Saturday.

The source, however, claimed not to know why the president overrode the minister.

Amobi’s reinstatement was not the first time Buhari will override the orders of the minister.

On Tuesday, December 7, Buhari reversed the suspension of the managing director of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) Damilola Ogunbiyi ordered by Mamman.

Before her suspension, Ogunbiyi had resigned from the position to take up a job as the United Nations special representative for sustainable energy and CEO of Sustainable Energy for All (SEforAll). Her resignation letter was not acknowledged by the minister.

But Buhari reversed the suspension and acknowledged her resignation to allow begin work with the UN.

In the midst of the rumoured power-tussle between the minister and agency heads under the ministry, NBET had been moved from the ministry of power to the ministry of finance. Neither the president or the minister gave any reasons for the movement.

Ogunbiyi and Amobi’s ordeals with the power minister have heightened persistent allegations of witch-hunt against Southerners by a ‘cabal’ within the government.

A spokesman Aaron Artimas to the minister claimed earlier in the week that the minister wanted to clean up the ministry which he said has underachieved in the last four years.

Moreover, Artimas noted that the ministry was controlled by a “cabal” and “untouchables” before Mamman was appointed as minister for power.

These groups, he said, “are now resisting any form of re-organization meant to re-postion the Ministry.”

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