Nigerian former military head of state, Yakubu Gowon, has described accusations that he looted half of the Central Bank of Nigeria as “rubbish”.
Gowon had been accused by Tom Tugendhat, a member of the United Kingdom parliament, of looting Nigeria’s treasury after he left office.
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This was disclosed at the UK parliament while a committee debate on a petition on the #EndSARS crisis. Tugendhat had urged the UK to call out corruption and use its powers to stop people who profit from Nigeria’s wealth and thereafter hide it in foreign accounts.
“Some people will remember when General Gowon left Nigeria with half of the Central Bank, so it is said, and moved to London,” he said.
However, Tugendhat did not provide any evidence to support his claim.
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In reaction to the remark, Gowon told BBC: “I don’t know where he got that rubbish from, I served Nigeria diligently and my records are there for all to see”.
“What the MP said was just mere ridicule and I don’t know as to where he cooked up such statement. I served Nigeria as much as I could and my achievements during those years are available to everyone.
“I don’t want to talk over the matter since those who know me very well say that the MP’s statement is nothing but a mere fallacy”.
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Gowon was Nigeria’s military head of state from 1966 to 1975, as well as during the oil boom.
After leaving power in 1975, Gowon went to the UK to study political science and international relations as an undergraduate at Warwick University.
Several people including president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, have since reacted to the allegations, and vouched for Gowon’s integrity.