By Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri
A former Special Adviser to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Senator Abba Aji, has described the allegation of fraud against General Yakubu Gowon (retd), Nigeria’s former military Head of State, by a British Member of Parliament (MP) as reckless and unwarranted.
Abba Aji, who was also a Chief Whip in the Senate while he represented Borno Central ( 2003-2007), in an interview with newsmen including Daily Sun, in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, over the weekend, said MP Thomas Tugendhat went overboard in making frivolous claims against the former Nigerian leader.
‘Tugendhat allegation was unfolded. There is no truth in it. We all know Gen Gowon left office with N75, 000 in his account. He was toppled in another military coup while attending a meeting in Kampala and it was on record that Nigerian embassy had to mobilise about $3,000 dollars for him because he had no money. We must not allow an alien to redicule our former leader with frivolous alegation,’ the ex-senator said.
He called on the Federal Government to speak more on the matter and demand more explaination from the British parliamentarian.
He appealed to Gen Gowon not to worry over the claim but concentrate on his One Nigeria mission, which he started since his returned to the country. He described the former Head of State as one of the finest Nigeria leaders and elder statesmen
He also asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to dust its documents and clear Gen Gowon’s name, adding that doing so would further encourage older Nigerians to serve the country in other capacities.
Tugendhat, who chaired the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Common, had during a debate last week at the floor of the parliament in London, alleged that Gowon looted half the treasury of the Central Bank of Nigeria while leaving office in 1975. He made the claim during a debate over alleged used of force against the #EndSARS protesters at Lekki Toll Gate.
Gowon was the Nigerian Head of State between August 1966 and 1975.