The Federal Government of Nigeria has demanded an apology and retraction from the British government after a parliamentarian accused Yakubu Gowon, Nigeria’s former Head of State, of looting public treasury.
This was contained in a statement by Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, signed by Ferdinand Nwonye, the ministry’s spokesperson, on Friday.
Reacting to the statement by the UK MP which Mr Gowon had earlier dismissed as “rubbish”, the ministry said that the MP’s allegation was “outrageous and unsubstantiated.”
The statement added; “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through the Nigerian High Commission in London, immediately sought an apology and retraction of the unsubstantiated allegation from the British Government,” the statement said.
It added that Charlotte Pierre, the Head of Africa Department of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, had “expressed strong reservations” on Mr Tugendhat’s allegation.
It also quoted Ms Pierre as saying that, “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.
Ms Pierre also urged the government and people of Nigeria in the statement to “discountenance the said comment of the MP as Her Majesty’s Government has nothing to do with it.”
The British MP in question, Tom Tugendhat, who took part in the parliament’s debate on request for sanction of Nigerian government officials over alleged rights violations during the #EndSARS protest, said that Gowon stole half of Nigeria’s wealth when he was ousted in a 1975 coup and fled into exile in the United Kingdom.
He said: “We need to call out the corruption, we need to use the powers that we have in this country to stop those who are profiting from the wealth of that great nation and hiding it here.
“Now some people will remember when Gen. Gowon left Nigeria, he took half of the Central Bank, so it is said, and moved to London,” Tahendhat stated in part.
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