Nigeria is seeking an apology from the British government over what the federal government called unsubstantiated claim by a member of its parliament that former military head of state, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd), looted the Central Bank.
The federal government wants the statement made on the floor of the British House of Commons by Tom Tugendhat retracted.
Tugendhat, chairman of the UK parliament foreign affairs committee, had accused Gowon of looting half of the central bank when he left office.
“Some people will remember when General Gowon left Nigeria with half of the Central Bank, so it is said, and moved to London,”
However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement in Abuja that as soon as it got wind of the alleagtaion, it “sought an apology and retraction of the unsubstantiated allegation from the British Government.”
It quoted Charlotte Pierre, head of Africa Department of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, as expressing “strong reservations on the comment of the parliamentarian.”
Pierre was further 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”.
Gowon himself has dismissed the allegation as rubbish.