Gowon replies UK lawmaker over “stealing half of Central Bank” accusation

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Gowon and Tugendhat

Former Nigerian Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (Rtd) has described as “rubbish” an accusation that he stole “half of the Central Bank of Nigeria” and took it to London.

A Member of the UK Parliament, Tom Tugendhat, laid the accusation during a debate at Westminster Hall on Monday.

The UK parliamentarians were debating a petition seeking sanctions for Nigerian government and Army officials for alleged human rights violations.

Tugendhat, who has been Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee since 2017, said lamented the UK government’s alleged indifference to preventing politically-exposed persons from developing nations like Nigeria to stash their ill-gotten wealth in the UK.

“We know that today, even now, in this great city of ours, there are, sadly, some people who have taken from the Nigerian people and hidden their ill-gotten gains here,” he said.

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He added, “It is a tragedy that we are all witnessing. The pressure this time is not foreign colonialism, the pressure instead is corruption, violence and attempts to control.

“We need to call out corruption. We need to use powers we have in this country to stop those who are profiting.

“Some people would remember when General Gowon left Nigeria with half of the central bank, or so it was said, and moved to London.”

Nigerians were taken aback by the accusation.

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However, Gowon, who was Head of State from 1966 to 1975, refuted the UK parliamentarian’s claim in a chat with BBC.

“What the MP said is rubbish. I don’t know where he got that rubbish from. I served Nigeria diligently and my records are there for all to see.

“I did not want to speak on this issue because people that know me know that what the MP said is not true,” the octogenarian claimed.

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