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Last Updated: Monday, 4 April, 2005, 21:53 GMT 22:53 UK
Second Nigerian minister sacked
Former inspector general of Nigeria's police Tafa Balogun
Mr Balogun was forced to retire in January over corruption allegations
Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has sacked his housing minister, the second such dismissal within two weeks, as part of an anti-corruption drive.

Alice Mobolaji Osomo was sacked after more than 200 properties were allocated to top officials rather than going on public sale, says a BBC reporter.

Education Minister Fabian Osuji lost his job in March over an alleged bribe.

Mr Obasanjo has warned officials their greed is undermining his attempts to win international debt relief.

A statement from the president's office said the housing minister was sacked after the sale of public property violated instructions.

Three days ago newspapers published the names of people allegedly offered or sold houses at below market value in Lagos.

Police

In another anti-corruption case, former chief of police Tafa Balogun appeared in the High Court in the capital, Abuja, in handcuffs on Monday, to face 70 charges of fraud, money laundering and stealing $98m.

He will remain in custody until the court next meets on 18 April.


Mr Balogun - who had been police inspector-general for nearly three years and in the police force for more than 28 years - was taken in for questioning by Nigeria's anti-graft watchdog, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), last week.

He stepped down after the EFCC revealed it was investigating large sums of money held in Lagos bank accounts linked to him.

Corruption

President Obasanjo has been vocal in his commitment to tackling corruption and sacked Mr Osuji in a broadcast to the nation during which he said 14 people had been involved in fraud.

He accused Mr Osuji of offering a bribe of 55m naira ($417,000) to senate president Adolfus Wabara as he tried to secure a bigger budget for his ministry.

Mr Osuji has said he will sue the government over his televised dismissal, claiming it violated his human rights.

Oil-rich Nigeria is trying to shake off its reputation as one of the world's most corrupt countries.

The EFCC estimates 45% of Nigeria's oil revenues are wasted, stolen or siphoned away by corrupt officials.




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