FG summons Zimbabwean envoy over Mugabe’s comment on Nigeria
The federal government yesterday summoned the Zimbabwean Head of Chancery Stanley Kunjeku over remarks credited to President Robert Mugabe which suggested that Nigerians are corrupt.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the Zimbabwean envoy in Abuja to formally lodge a protest.
The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr. Martin Uhomoibhi described Mugabe’s comment as vitriolic and denigrating on Nigeria and Nigerians.
“We were very concerned when we read that on the occasion of the 90th birthday of President Mugabe, he took off considerable time to vituperate about Nigeria,” he said. Mugabe reportedly made the disparaging statement on March 15.
Uhomoibhi said: “Mugabe’s comments reflected what we consider to be a strong aversion of our country, remarks which we consider denigrating and un-statesmanlike”.
“We want to present the strongest protest in that statement; not only does it not reflect the reality in our country, but to come from a sitting president of a brotherly country is most unkind and very dishonourable,’’ he said.
He said the Zimbabwean president’s comment was unfortunate, given the role played by Nigeria in the liberation struggle in southern Africa.
He said Nigeria had always stood with Zimbabwe “shoulder to shoulder’’ since independence and was one of the first countries to congratulate Mugabe on his re-election.
“At the point when sanctions were imposed on your country, Nigeria empathised with Zimbabwe,’’ he said.
While responding to questions from journalists on why the protest was coming weeks after the comment was made, Uhomoibhi “In our diplomatic parlance, we do not react the way people would want us to react; we have to verify and articulate our position.”
In his response, Kunjeku said Nigeria’s protest would be forwarded to Harare.
Illegal refineries being destroyed by naval officers in Warri yesterday.