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March 24, 2008
A press release issued today by the Special Adviser on Communications said, "Umaru Musa Yar'Adua today accepted the voluntary resignations of the Minister of Health, Prof. Adenike Grange, and the Minister of State (Health), Arc. Gabriel Aduku."

The statement further stated: "Both ministers are leaving the Federal Executive Council following charges of corruption brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)."

The release revealed that both ministers are expected to face corruption charges following investigations being undertaken by the EFCC.
 "Yar'Adua has also ordered the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Engr. Ebele Okeke to direct that the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Health, Prof. Simon Ogamdi, the Director of Administration, Dr. H.B. Oyedepo and the Director of Finance, Hanafi Muhammed who participated in the subversion of his directive on the return of unspent Budget 2007 funds to the Treasury should proceed on immediate suspension in accordance with extant civil service rules pending further disciplinary action by Government."

"Another Director, Mr. M.S. Hamid, a Chief Accountant, Abdulrahaman Ambali, a Principal Administrative Officer, Mr. Donald Ekanem, a Principal Transport Officer, Mr. Donatus Iyang and seven other civil servants in the Ministry were also affected by the suspension order."

"The Minister of Labour, Dr. Hassan Muhammad Lawal, is to oversee the affairs of the Federal Ministry of Health until further notice."

The action of the Umar Yar'adua government is coming on the heels of international pressure on the regime to energize the war against corruption in Nigeria.

A diplomatic source in a Western embassy told Saharareporters that he was disappointed that the press statement was silent on the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Michael Aondoakaa, whose shenanigans make Professor Grange’s alleged corruption case look like child's play.
An official of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties also expressed dismay that the statement made no mention of the fate of the two lawmakers from the National Assembly who implicated in the corruption acts involving the Ministry of Health. One of them, Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, the daughter of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, reportedly received N10 million from officials of the Health Ministry. Obasanjo-Bello heads the Senate Committee on Health. Another legislator in the House of Representatives also received N10 million ($70,000) to engage in "a health seminar" outside of Nigeria.

One EFCC source told Saharareporters that the agency’s investigations had reached an advanced stage and that the  officials affected should be arraigned in court in the next few weeks.

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