Trump sacks Secretary of State Tillerson, taps CIA director Pompeo

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Rex Tillerson

…As Fashola says Power generators blackmailing govt, planning to disrupt supply***

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he had replaced U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo, and had tapped Gina Haspel to lead the CIA.

“Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen.

Congratulations to all!” Trump said on Twitter.

NAN reports that Tillerson, who has had to cancel several events because of illness, will cut short his first diplomatic trip to Africa to return to Washington to deal with pressing matters, according to a report Monday.

​“Due to demands in the secretary’s schedule, he is returning to the US one day early after concluding official meetings in Chad and Nigeria,” Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein told reporters, Reuters said.

​The US’ top diplomat arrived for a five-country tour of Africa on Friday, a day after President Trump announced that he would meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for a historic summit.​

​Tillerson, 65, canceled events in Kenya on Saturday because he became ill after working on North Korea and other matters for two days without sleep, Goldstein said. ​

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday met behind closed doors with Tillerson, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Meanwhile, power generation companies are planning to disrupt the supply of electricity across the country, an intention that suggests blackmail against the Federal Government, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has alleged.

Reacting to reports that some of the firms had gone to court to file claims against the Federal Government, Fashola stated on Monday that the move was consistent with the rule of law but stressed that the power firms “must be ready to face scrutiny in the court of public opinion.”

Last week, The PUNCH reported that some Gencos had dragged the government before the Federal High Court in Abuja over what they termed discriminatory practices against their interests and those of gas suppliers.

The firms also accused the Federal Government of conferring preferential treatment on Azura Power West Africa Limited and Accugas Limited at their own expense.

But speaking at the 25th Monthly Power Sector Meeting in Uyo, Fashola said the Gencos must be ready to explain to power consumers that despite all they had benefitted from the Federal Government, they were still planning to hold the citizens hostage.

He stated, “Let me say very clearly to all operators that I get reports of many of the clandestine meetings that some of them (Gencos) are holding with a view to disrupting the supply for political capital. I will implore those that are truly ready to run the business they have acquired voluntarily to continue to do so with the assurance of government support and partnership.

“As for those who entered the business without understanding it, please brace for hard work and help us rebuild this country. Those who choose to hide temporarily in the courts of law can do so, but the court of public opinion will scrutinise you and its verdict may be very scathing, unkind and enduring.”

Fashola added, “I say this because you may not have noticed that Nigerians are increasingly taking their destiny in their hands. This is the essence of privatisation. If you bother to look up and around you, you will see solar panels on rooftops. The mini grid regulations allow them to procure one megawatt without a licence.

“This is bigger than what many traditional generators supply. There is no law that compels them to take public power. I am not afraid of the law courts and will meet you there to vigorously defend our position.”

The minister stated that the Gencos must be ready to face the court of public opinion, which according to him, is a court of conscience and morality.

Additional report from Punch