Lagos - The Nigerian government is not happy with comments credited to Zimbabwean Presiden Robert Mugabe, depicting the country as very corrupt.
It has subsequently summoned Zimbabwe's envoy Stanley Kunjeku to formally lodge a protest.
Mugabe was reported to have said that Nigerians were corrupt people when he hosted service chiefs during his 90th birthday celebration last month.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 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’s comments reflected “what we consider to be a strong aversion of our country, remarks which we consider denigrating and un-statesmanly on Nigeria and Nigerians in gene
“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.
Uhomoibhi said the Zimbabwean President’s comment were unfortunate, given the role played by Nigeria in the liberation struggle in southern Africa.
He said Nigeria had always stood by Zimbabwe “shoulder to shoulder’’ since independence in 1980 and was one of the first countries to congratulate Mugabe on his re-election.
“At the point sanctions were imposed on your country, Nigeria empathised with Zimbabwe,’’ he said.
“In our diplomatic parlance, we do not react the way people would want us to react; we have to verify and articulate our position,’’ he said.
- CAJ News
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