‘He has never been linked to corruption’ — Reps defend Gowon over looting claim

The house of representatives has tackled Tom Tugendhat, a member of the United Kingdom parliament, over his claim that Yakubu Gowon, Nigeria’s former head of state, looted public treasury.

At Tuesday’s plenary session, the lawmakers delegated its foreign affairs committee to investigate the assertion, stepping down some prayers sought in a motion on the matter.

Yusuf Gagdi had in the motion asked the lawmakers to summon Catriona Laing, British high commissioner to Nigeria and to demand an apology from Tugendhat over the allegation.

The British lawmaker had accused Gowon of looting half of Nigeria’s central bank when he left office.

Speaking at the parliament’s recent debate on the #EndSARS crisis, Tugendhat said: “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 MP did not provide any evidence or source to support his claim which Gowon has described as ”rubbish”.

At the plenary session, Gagdi said the allegation was “an attempt to exploit the Nigerian society to create conflict, exacerbate the crisis and create conditions that make government doubtful and progress impossible”.

“Everybody knows how respected General Yakubu Gowon is and nobody has ever heard Gowon linked to any corrupt activity in this country,” he said.

“We know that the target is not aimed at destroying General Yakubu Gowon as an individual; the end is to further create disunity among Nigerians.”

Some of his colleagues, including Femi Gbajabiamila, the speaker, also rose in defence of Gowon, accusing the British lawmaker of attempting to destabilise Nigeria.

However, Kingsley Chinda from Rivers state asked the house to delete prayers seeking among other things, to summon the British high commissioner, pending when the matter is investigated.

The house subsequently adopted his amendment and asked its committee on foreign affairs to probe the matter and report back to it for further actions.

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