nigeria warns mischief makers

ABUJA - Nigerian Vice-president Goodluck Jonathan has warned people, including ministers, against taking advantage of the ailing president's long absence from the country to cause disharmony in government.

ABUJA - Nigerian Vice-president Goodluck Jonathan has warned people, including ministers, against taking advantage of the ailing president's long absence from the country to cause disharmony in government.

President Umaru Yar'Adua left Nigeria on November 23 last year and has since been hospitalised in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, for an acute heart ailment.

A statement by Jonathan's spokesperson Ima Niboro on Saturday said the government was aware of moves by some top officials and other influential Nigerians to sponsor false campaigns against him.

It said Jonathan was dismayed at a media report saying he was to be advised by the president's wife before exercising presidential powers in line with a high court ruling.

"This report is entirely false," the statement said.

"The vice-president wants to state that the last time he spoke with the First Lady was on Tuesday, January 5, after he spoke with the president."

"Those who packaged the report are only attempting to paint non-existent pictures to create mischievous scenarios of indecisivesness," it said.

It said the vice-president was effectively in charge of government, adding " 48 hours after the decision (court ruling), we all witnessed how the vice-president led the senate president, speaker of the house of representatives, the chief justice of the federation and the service chiefs, to take the salute at the armed forces remembrance day."

Jonathan also dismissed media speculation that he was planning to sack some ministers appointed by the president. - Sapa-AFP

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