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New head of Nigeria’s state oil company sacks top management

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By Julia Payne

Aug 5 (Reuters) – The new head of Nigeria’s state oil firm dismissed senior managers after a government directive, the company said on Wednesday, barely a day after President Muhammadu Buhari appointed him as managing director.

“All of the executive directors were let go … Buhari wanted a clean slate,” one of the dismissed managers said.

Buhari appointed a former executive of Exxon Mobil, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, to be the new head of NNPC on Tuesday, as part of a crackdown on corruption and mismanagement in Nigeria’s main revenue earner.

A second source said the names of the new senior managers would be published later in the day and that the number of executive director positions would be reduced to four. A third NNPC source said that four such positions had been approved by the new president.

“The Federal Government has approved the retirement of all eight Group Executive Directors of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) with immediate effect,” an emailed statement from the state oil company said.

Oil sales account for about 70 percent of government revenues and these have been battered by the slump in global crude prices.

A report by the Natural Resource Governance Institute said overhauling the state firm’s oil sales were key to this effort as billions of dollars a year in proceeds are either wasted or unaccounted in the current set-up.

Last month, Buhari said that NNPC would be divided but did not give further details.

The eight group executive directors that were dismissed worked directly under the head of the firm.

They were in charge of exploration and production, refining and petrochemicals, engineering and technology, gas and power, business development, finance and accounts and commerce and investments.

(Additional reporting by Camillus Eboh, Editing by Ralph Boulton/Ruth Pitchford)

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