US President Donald Trump has sacked Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson.
He was immediately replaced with the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, CIA, Mike Pompeo.
Tillerson had hardly returned from his tour of six African nations, including Nigeria when he was sacked.
In the sack which was conveyed through his Twitter handle, Trump expressed his appreciation for the service rendered by Tillerson.
He added that the Secretary of State would do “a fantastic job.”
His words: “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!”
Mr. Tillerson, was a chief executive of ExxonMobil before he was appointed Secretary of State about a year ago.
Trump also nominated Gina Haspel to become the first woman director of the CIA.
Tillerson’s sack is said to be in connection with his recent criticism of Russia and a series of public rifts.
Tillerson’s departure represents the biggest staff change in the Trump Cabinet so far and caps months of tensions between the Republican president and the 65-year-old former Exxon Mobil chief executive.
A senior White House official said Trump asked Tillerson to step down on Friday but he did not want to announce it while he was on a trip to Africa.
The official said Trump worked well with Pompeo, a former congressman from Kansas who is seen as a loyalist within the administration, and wanted him in place before the U.S. president’s planned talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and trade negotiations.
U.S. stock index futures pared their gains and the dollar also trimmed gains versus the yen while extending losses versus the euro amid the news.
Trump and Tillerson, who had no diplomatic or political experience before becoming Secretary of State, have diverged on policy numerous times, including over North Korea and Russia.
On Monday, Tillerson sharply criticized Russia over the poisonings in England of a former spy and his daughter, directly blaming Moscow after White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders stopped short of doing so.
Tillerson also appeared out of the loop last week when Trump announced he would meet with North Korea’s leader and become the first sitting U.S. president to do so.
During his visit to Nigeria on Monday, Tillerson met with President Muhammadu Buhari where the Nigerian president explained some of the steps being taken to ensure security of lives and property.
He specifically told Tillerson that the release of the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram was already being negotiated.
Buhari expressed appreciation for the assistance by the United States over the battle against insurgency.
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He said even though Nigerian forces were doing well, there was need for assistance in terms of training and equipment.
Tillerson who spoke about the importance of Nigeria to the United States, said the government was ready to continue to offer its support.
“You have our support in your challenges. We will also support opportunities to expand the economy, commercial investments, and peaceful polls in 2019,” he said.