The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Danjuma Sheni, has been suspended for his alleged role in the controversy over the invitation of Nigeria’s envoys from South Africa.
Media reports at the weekend claimed that Nigeria had recalled its envoys from South Africa over the xenophobic attacks in the country.
The South African government has already reacted to the action, describing it as unnecessary.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, on Monday, maintained that there was no truth in the report.
Claiming that there was a mix up and misinformation on the matter, he said that Nigeria’s Charge d’Affaires to South Africa was invited for consultation.
But, a reliable source, who craved anonymity, said that a query has already been issued to Sheni by the Head of Service of the Federation, Danladi Kifasi, on the order of President Goodluck Jonathan.
The source said Sheni’s offence was that he did not get clearance from the president before inviting the country’s envoys for consultation.
The President, he said, was miffed that the ministry embarrassed him again, a few weeks after the diplomatic row between Nigeria and Morocco on issue of telephone conversation between Jonathan and King Mohammed VI.
He said that Sheni would have been dismissed, if not for the civil service rule.
He said: “The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been suspended and queried for embarrassing the President by not clearing from him before inviting the Charge d’Affaires.
“The President on Monday directed the Head of Service to query him and he has 24 hours to respond to the query.
“You will recall that that was the second embarrassment, this one came shortly after the Morocco saga.
“The permanent secretary was to be dismissed immediately, but for the civil service rule. Even at that, there will still be further consequence.
“As at now, a new permanent secretary has been redeployed to the ministry to replace him.”
South Africa has, however, insisted that it still has cordial relations with the Nigeria despite the latter withdrawing its high commissioner in protest against xenophobic violence.

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