By Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The Federal Government, has condemned what it termed malicious accusation against former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, by a Member of the British Parliament.
Recall that Tom Tugendhat MP, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons, had accused Gowon during parliamentary debate on #EndSARS protest of taking half of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) with him when he went on exile to the United Kingdom after he was toppled in a military coup.
However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a statement by its Spokesperson, Ferdinand Nwonye, said the parliamentarian’s allegation was outrageous and unsubstantiated.
Nwonye said: “The attention of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been drawn to an outrageous and unsubstantiated allegation in the United Kingdom Parliament against retired General Yakubu Gowon, GCFR, a former Nigerian Head of State, by Mr. Tom Tugendhat, MP, Chair, Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons.
“During a debate on a petition regarding the EndSARS protests in Nigeria, Tugendhat accused the respected former Head of State of corruption, saying ‘some people will remember when General Gowon left Nigeria with half the Central Bank and moved to London.’”
Nwonye added that 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.
He stated that after due consultations and engagements with the Acting Nigerian High Commissioner in London, the Head of Africa Department of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Charlotte Pierre, expressed strong reservations on the comment of the Parliamentarian.
“She further explained 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.’
“She further urged the Government and the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to ‘discountenance the said comment of the MP, as Her Majesty’s Government has nothing to do with it,’” Nwonye quoted the British Government to have said.