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President fires oil firm chief in Nigeria

world Updated: May 19, 2010 15:01 IST

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Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has removed the newly appointed chairman of the country's state owned petroleum company, Shehu Ladan and replaced him with Austin Oniwon.

Ladan who was appointed on April 6 as chairman of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) when the President sacked Sanusi Barkindo who was appointed by late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.

Ladan's removal is to pave way for an auditing exercise in the company.

"The Finance minister is to engage the services of a world class auditing firm to carry out the audit" a statement
from the president's office said on Tuesday.

Oniwon was an executive director in the corporation before his appointment.

Nigeria is planning a thorough reform in the oil sector whose works have been hampered by fraud and legislation to
that effect is before the country's parliament.

Jonathan, who has promised to reform the oil sector, has recently sacked other top officials in the NNPC and re-assigned some others.

Nigeria is the leading oil producer in Africa and also ranks sixth in the world in crude production.