UK Foreign Office dissociates itself from alleged Gowon robbery
The UK has distanced itself from the alleged financial embezzlement committed against former Nigerian head of state Yakubu Gowon by its MP Tom Tugendhat.
The rally follows a petition to the UK parliament by the Igbo for Progressive Nigeria (IPAN) group asking for details of the accusation.
Tugendhat, during a debate at Westminster Hall on Nov.23, accused Gowon of looting half of Nigeria’s Central Bank when he (Gowon) dominated.
According to Tugendhat, “some people will remember how General Gowon left Nigeria with half the Central Bank, as they say, and moved to London.”
Responding to IPAN’s petition in a December 21 letter signed by an official from the Office of Foreign Affairs, Commonwealth and Development of Nigeria, Angela said that Tom Tugendhat made the statement in his personal capacity and not for the British Parliament or the UK.
Angela said, “Thank you for your November 29 email to the Foreign Office for Commonwealth and Development Affairs regarding the Nigeria debate.
I am in charge as a member of the FCDO Nigeria. I acknowledge that there are concerns about the comments made by MP Tom Tugendhat regarding the former head of state of Nigeria, General Gowon, during the Westminster Hall debate on November 23rd.
“I would like to clarify that Mr. Tugendhat spoke in a personal capacity and not on behalf of the British government.
“The High Commissioner wrote to Nigerian Foreign Minister Jeffrey Onyama and General Gowon to confirm this point. Regards, Angela. “
But IPAN National President Laurence Onuzulike, in a petition to our correspondent, demanded proof of the charges against the former head of state, threatening to bring him to court for libel.
In part, Onuzulike’s petition reads: “I am writing on behalf of millions of Nigerian patriots to express our concern about the British Parliament statement.
“Based on the information on your website, we can assume that we should receive a response to this letter within 20 days.
“Recently, in a debate in the UK Parliamentary Committee on the #EndSARS petition for the Nigeria Crisis, Tom Tugendhat, MP, accused Yakubu Gowon, a former military chief of state in Nigeria who has since ruled Nigeria. 1966 to 1975 – Sack half of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“At home, millions of Nigerians take this charge very seriously and we demand proof. We Nigerians are looking for evidence that Mr. Gowon robbed half of Nigeria’s central bank because we want to bring him to justice.
“In the absence of evidence, we ask Mr. Tom Tugendhat to immediately and unconditionally apologize to both Nigeria and the Nigerians.
“We Nigerians have been through a lot in recent months, and the least we need now are statements and words that are divisive.
“I hope to receive an answer soon, which I will diligently convey to the Nigerians who knew about my letter of complaint to the British Parliament.”
Source: – The Nation