The Nigerian government is demanding an “immediate apology and retraction from the British government over an “unsubstantiated” claim by a member of its parliament that a former Nigerian head of state Yakubu Gowon, looted the public treasury.
“Some people will remember when General Gowon left Nigeria with half of the Central Bank, so it is said, and moved to London,” Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the UK parliament foreign affairs committee, had said at the parliament’s recent debate on the #EndSARS crisis.
The British MP, however, did not provide any evidence or source to support his claim.
Ferdinand Nwonye, spokesman of the Nigerian Foreign Affairs Ministry in a statement on Friday, said Nigeria has demanded that the statement be retracted.
He said the ministry, upon learning of the claim, “immediately sought an apology and retraction of the unsubstantiated allegation from the British Government”.
Nwoye said the federal government also consulted with Charlotte Pierre, head of Africa Department of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, who “expressed strong reservations on the comment of the Parliamentarian”.
Pierre was quoted as saying “the said comment of the MP does not reflect the views of Her Majesty’s Government and the British Government has no mechanism for controlling the actions and speeches of members of the Parliament.”
She urged Nigeria to “discountenance the said comment of the MP, as Her Majesty’s Government has nothing to do with it”.
By Abel Ejikeme