-By Samuel Ogundipe
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has described as “completely false” a widely circulated report that its Group Managing Director, Ibe Kachikwu, has been relieved of his job by President Muhammadu Buhari, saying the Minister of State for Petroleum is still carrying out his duties as assigned to him by the president.
An unconfirmed report announcing the purported dismissal of Mr. Kachikwu had suddenly emerged on the Internet on Thursday afternoon.
The report, which did not cite any official sources, also said Mr. Buhari had named Maikanti Baru, NNPC Group Executive Director, as Mr. Kachikwu’s replacement as head of the country’s oil company.
But in a telephone interview on Thursday evening, the Group General Manager, Public Affairs Division of the NNPC, Garba-deen Mohammed, said the news is untrue.
“The story is completely false,” Mr. Mohammed said. “It should be ignored by all Nigerians.”
“The minister is currently in his office and has continued to function in the roles assigned to him by the president.”
Also, a top official in the presidency who asked not to be named because he was not authorised to speak on the matter said Mr. Kachikwu remained the Minister of Petroleum and the GMD of NNPC and urged Nigerians to disregard the news of his sack.
Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, said he could not immediately comment as he was in Côte d’Ivoire attending the conference of all African ministers of tourism.