Former Nigerian Leader Gowon Denies ‘Stealing Half of Central Bank’

Former Nigerian head of state, Retired General Yakubu Gowon has denied allegations that he stole half of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Lt. Col. Thomas Georg John Tugendhat MBE, aBritish MP serving as Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee since 2017, had made the allegation in the UK parliament on Monday.

“Some people will remember when General Gowon left Nigeria with half the Central Bank of Nigeria, so it is said, and moved to London,” he alleged.

Gowon, who ruled Nigeria from 1966 to 1975, a period which the West African nation fought a civil war, labelled Tugendhat’s accusation as ‘rubbish’.

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

After leaving power in a bloodless coup in 1975, General Gowon fled to the UK and enrolled at Warwick University as an undergraduate, where he studied political science and international relations.

Mr Tugendhat was speaking during a parliamentary debate on whether the British government should impose sanctions on Nigerian officials involved in the alleged excessive use of force on peaceful protesters during last month’s anti-police brutality demonstrations.

He went on to argue that London has a peculiar political influence because it is the place where thieves choose to launder stolen money.

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

“Sadly, we know that our banks have been used for those profits and for that illegal transfer of assets. That means that the UK is in an almost unique position in being able to do something to exert pressure on those who have robbed the Nigerian people.”

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