By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna
A belated government statement refuting the purported suspension of the Chief of Staff to Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State, Mikhail Bmitosahi over an alleged disappearance of N600 million appeared to have impacted very insignificantly as media hype on the matter persisted just as celebrations over the sack continued for all day.
An uncensored online media report had earlier on Thursday leaked the story of the sack even as the news trended for several hours before a government statement from the state’s Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Danjuma Salau emerged to deny the report as fake.
The online media had reported that Mikhail Bmitosahi had incurred the wrath of his boss, Governor Sani Bello, over an alleged disappearance of N600 from the Government House.
The report from the online news portal said that the Chief of Staff was asked to hand over to the Principal Private Secretary to Governor Sani Bello, Adamu Aliyu.
But a government statement deconstructed the story late in the evening as it refuted that the story was mischievous and unfounded in it’s entirety.
“The attention of Niger State Government has been drawn to a media report by the Daily Nigerian that the Chief of Staff to the Governor of Niger State has been suspended” said the government statement.
The statement described the story “as blatant lies” just as it urged citizens in the state to disregard the story as fake.
Though the statement asked citizens to discountenanced the purported suspension of Mikhail Bmitosahi, feelers close to the seat of power in the state insisted that there was more to it than what the government statement had said.
A dependable source within Government House told our correspondent in Minna that congratulatory messages to Adamu Aliyu have been trooping to the Acting COS.
A source said the residence of the PPS had by 6:30pm on Thursday been a beehive of well wishers who were on felicitation visit to the PPS over his elevation as Chief of Staff.
A retired civil servant and one conversant with administration in the Government House, who spoke to our correspondent on condition of unanimity, argued that in normal administrative process, the Secretary to the State Government, (SSG) should have been the person to hold brief for the COS in any event of his travelling out of the state but not the PPS to the governor.
The statement while refuting the story, said the Chief of Staff and other top government functionaries were on official assignment outside the shores of Nigeria just as the statement explained that the Chief of Staff would be in the United Kingdom to attend an international workshop.