Defence Minister, Aliyu Gusau debunks resignation rumour

Defence minister, Aliyu Gusau, has denied widespread reports of his resignation Wednesday, in what has deflated concerns about the implication of such an exit on the Nigerian government’s effort to curtail a bloody rampage by the extremist Boko Haram sect.

Mr. Gusau said reports of his leaving office were untrue.

His response came as the Nigerian government scrambled to dispel the reports that the minister, who was appointed barely a week ago, stepped down after an altercation with military commanders.

Reports of Mr. Gusau’s resignation sparked an online frenzy Wednesday after news website, SaharaReporters, quoting unnamed administration officials, reported a row between Mr. Gusau and the defence chief of staff, Alex Badeh.

The report said the minister submitted his resignation citing insubordination from military officials, and refused to rescind same after the intervention of President Jonathan.

Air Chief Marshal Badeh was reported to have disparaged Mr. Gusau and the junior minister for defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, after he was criticized for failing to arrange a meeting between the new ministers and the chiefs of army, navy and the airforce.

The meeting, scheduled for last week after Mr. Gusau’s swearing-in, had been repeatedly rescheduled. When one eventually held Tuesday, only Mr. Badeh showed up. He reportedly asked the ministers to proceed as he represented the service chiefs.

He later dismissed the concerns of the ministers and made clear the military would not be dictated to, the report claimed, in what would seem one of the most brazen confrontations between civilian and military authorities since the return of democracy in 1999.


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