Presidency speaks on Chief of Staff Kyari, Head of Service Oyo-Ita ‘feud’

The Presidency has finally reacted to reports that the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Abba Kyari, and the Head of Service of the Federation, Oyo Ita, feuded over the Maina scandal.

The presidency said the reports were “fabricated”.

Mr. Kyari and Mrs. Oyo-Ita were on Wednesday captured on camera having a heated argument as Vice President Yemi Osinbajo appeared to be mediating at the presidential villa, before the arrival of President Buhari for the Federal Executive Council, FEC meeting.

Media reports said the exchanges between the two officials, both linked to the controversial recall of a former civil servant, Abdulrasheed Maina, were about a leaked letter sent by Mrs. Oyo-Ita to Mr. Buhari about Mr. Maina’s reinstatement.

Mr. Maina is the former chairman of the Presidential Task Team of Pension Reforms, who was surreptitiously reinstated and promoted to a Director in the Civil service even after he was declared wanted by the EFCC years ago.

In the leaked memo, Mrs. Oyo-Ita said she had informed President Buhari of the recall, the clearest testimony yet to also put the president at the centre of the scandal.

But a spokesperson to Mr. Buhari, Garba Shehu, on Friday met with State House journalists at the presidential villa and requested “a higher sense of responsibility”, by the media.

Mr. Shehu described newspaper reports of a row between the government officials as “fabrications that could only have been conjured by correspondents who would probably make better fiction writers than journalists.”

He said it was impossible for the conversation between Mr. Kyari, and the Head of Service of the Federation to have been heard by any journalist, as the distance between the correspondents and the two government officials as they addressed the Vice President at Wednesday’s FEC meeting, “would have made their conversation completely inaudible to the journalists.”

“People can debate and argue over issues, but to suggest that there was a feud, a fight or a clash was to take matters beyond what they were,” the he said.

Mr. Shehu also denied any suggestion that the two government officials had been summoned to see the president over the confrontation, saying that was yet another example of conjecture.

“Top government officials of that calibre see the President on a regular basis. To suggest that they were summoned to see him as a result of a so-called feud is just a fabrication, a conclusion that is below the level of responsible journalism that we expect from our State House correspondents,” he said.