FG sum­mons Zim­bab­wean en­voy over Mu­gabe’s com­ment on Nigeria

Daily Trust - - NEWS - By Romoke W. Ah­mad

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.

PHOTO NAN

Il­le­gal re­finer­ies be­ing de­stroyed by naval of­fi­cers in Warri yes­ter­day.

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