Twenty-eight female guards were unfairly dismissed by a security company because the client‚ Metrora.
LAGOS - Divisions have emerged in the Nigerian cabinet over whether President Umaru Yar'Adua should hand over power to his deputy after an absence of more than two months for medical treatment, newspapers reported yesterday.
The cabinet, or federal executive council, has twice passed resolutions saying Yar'Adua remains fit to govern despite calls from the senate, former heads of state and elder statesmen, the Nigerian Bar Association and the media for him to hand over. Other than impeachment by Parliament, a long-winded process which would require a majority vote seen as hard to secure, only the cabinet can force Yar'Adua to hand over executive powers to vice president Goodluck Jonathan.
The 58-year-old leader has not been seen in public since he left on November 23 to receive treatment for a heart condition in Saudi Arabia. His failure to formally transfer power has led to debate over the legality of government decisions.
At least five of Nigeria's top newspapers carried front-page stories saying Information Minister Dora Akunyili circulated a memo at Wednesday's cabinet meeting asking ministers to discuss Yar'Adua's absence and consider asking him to hand over power.
The reports citing unnamed sources said hawks in the cabinet forced her memo off the meeting's agenda and warned Akunyili not to take any copies away or leak them to the media.
"In a memo so contentious that the weekly meeting ... became a shouting match, Akunyili said members must admit that the president is too ill to rule," the Next newspaper said.
"This major break in the council's position, the last bastion in defence of an ailing president, signposts the end of a tragic charade," it said.
Akunyili could not immediately be reached for comment. But she was quoted by Business Day newspaper as confirming she had sent a memo to the cabinet but declining to comment further as ministers had decided not to discuss it at the meeting. - Reuters