The Muhammadu Buhari-led government has asked the British government to apologize over a claim by a member of its parliament that ex-Military ruler Yakubu Gowon looted Nigeria’s Central Bank.
Tom Tungendhat, a British Parliament member, made the allegation on Monday, November 23 during the House deliberation on the aftermath of the EndSARS protest, and possible sanctions to be meted on top Nigerians regarding the roles they played in the killing of unarmed protesters at the Lekki toll gate.
The parliamentarian said, “What we are seeing in Nigeria today is part of that story. It is a tragedy we are all witnessing because we see things falling apart.
“The problem this time is not foreign pressure known as colonialism. The pressure instead is corruption and violence and attempts at control (of power).
“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 general Gowon left Nigeria, he took half of the Central Bank, so it is said, and moved to London.
“We know today, even now in this great city of ours, there are sadly some people who have taken the wealth of Nigerian people and hidden their ill-gotten gains here,” he opined.
But reacting in a statement on Friday, Ferdinand Nwonye, spokesman of the ministry of foreign affairs, stated that the lawmaker provided no evidence to back up his claim.
He asked the British government to apologize and also retract the unsubstantiated allegation against Yakubu Gowon.
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”.
The statement quoted Pierre 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.”
It added that she urged Nigeria to “discountenance the said comment of the MP, as Her Majesty’s Government has nothing to do with it”.