By Ismail Auwal
The government of the United Kingdom (UK) has dissociated itself from the allegation of looting levelled against former Nigerian Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, by a British Parliamentarian, Tom Tugendhat.
Tugendhat had on 23rd November, during the Westminster Hall debate, accused General Gowon of looting half of the Central Bank of Nigeria while in office.
According to Tugendhat, “Some people will remember when General Gowon left Nigeria with half of the Central Bank, so it is said, and moved to London.”
Jolted by the grave nature of the allegation, a concerned group called Igbo for a Progressive Nigeria (IPAN) wrote to the British Parliament demanding for an explanation.
In an official response to IPAN’s request, a member of the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) Nigeria unit, Angela clearly explained that Tom Tugendhat made the scathing remarks in his own personal capacity, which doesn’t represent the position of the British Parliament or the United Kingdom.
In the letter, Angela wrote, “Thank you for your email of 29 November to the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office about the debate on Nigeria.
“I am replying as a member of the FCDO Nigeria Unit. I recognise there is concern about the comments made by Tom Tugendhat MP about former Nigerian Head of State, General Gowon, during the Westminster Hall debate on 23 November.
“I would like to clarify that Mr Tugendhat was speaking in a personal capacity and not on behalf of the UK Government.”
“The High Commissioner has written to the Nigerian Foreign Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, as well as to General Gowon, to reiterate this point. Yours Sincerely, Angela.”
Tugendhat is yet to retract or apologize over his unsubstantiated statement, which is considered damaging to the reputation of the Nigeria’s foremost former leader and statesman.