The President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, has fired the head of the country’s oil firm NNPC, after less than six weeks at the helm and ordered the finance ministry to audit the company’s accounts. The president has appointed Austin Oniwon, executive director of refineries and petrochemicals, to replace Shehu Ladan as group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp.
The president also appointed Mike Oghiadomhe as his new chief of staff.
A spokesman for the President has declined to give a reason for Ladan’s dismissal, but did say the finance ministry would begin an audit into NNPC’s accounts. “The president has directed a comprehensive audit of NNPC accounts,” said Ima Niboro, special adviser to the president. According to the spokesman, the finance minister is to engage the services of a world class auditing firm to carry out the audit. Corruption and the mismanagement of Nigeria’s oil wealth have left the country mired in poverty despite five decades of oil extraction.
The country’s politicians accused of embezzling tens of millions of dollars share the blame, but local resentment has targeted oil firms and militant attacks on infrastructure have stopped the country pumping much above two thirds of its capacity.
The country’s legislature is currently finalising a bill that would drastically change the opertaion of the NNPC and turn it into a profit-driven entity that is able to tap international markets.
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