Gadaffi: Nigeria recalls ambassador to Libya

2010-03-19
THE SUN Newspaper-Beifoh Osewele and Molly Kilete


The Federal Government has recalled its ambassador to Libya, Isa Mohammed, in reaction to a statement credited to Libyan leader, Muammar Ghadaffi, that Nigeria should be split into two along religious lines.



Ghadaffi spoke in response to the recurrent killings in Jos.



The Libyan news agency, JANA, which carried the report on Tuesday, did not state the date or location. It merely reported that Gaddafi said so while addressing some students in the Libyan capital, Tripoli.



Spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ozo Nwobu, confirmed the recall on Thursday, saying that it was with immediate effect.



Nwiobu said Ghadaffi’s statement was insensitive to the fragile peace in Nigeria, adding that it cast doubts on his person as a serious leader.



Nwobu said the ambassador was expected to report in Abuja immediately for further briefing and consultations.



He, however, noted that recalling the ambassador did not necessarily mean severing relations with Libya, adding that “it is a form of formal protest which is allowed in diplomacy.”



“The insensitive and oftentimes irresponsible utterances of Col. Ghadaffi, his theatrics and grandstanding on every auspicious occasion have become too numerous to recount. These have, indeed, diminished his status and credibility as a leader to be taken seriously.



“His comments on the crisis in Jos are most unacceptable and unbecoming of any leader who claims to advocate and champion the cause of African integration and unity. Our ambassador in Tripoli has been recalled for urgent consultations.



“The Federal Government however, reassures Nigerians and the international community that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Nigeria are sacrosanct and would be guarded jealously.



“While regretting the loss of innocent lives and wanton destruction of properties, government reiterates that the perpetrators will be brought to book,” Nwobu said.



Meanwhile, the House of Representatives on Thursday asked the Federal Government to sever ties with the North African country.



In a resolution in Abuja, the lawmakers described the Libyan leader as an ”irresponsible and ignorant character” who had a shallow understanding of Nigeria and its people.



It called for the redeployment of the Nigerian envoy to Libya and also summoned the Libyan ambassador to Nigeria to appear before its Committee on Foreign Affairs to explain what pushed Gadaffi to interfere in Nigeria‘s affairs.



The resolution followed a motion by the Chairman of the House Committee on Air Force, Mr. Halims Agoda, condemning Gadaffi‘s comments.



Agoda had asked the Federal Government to report the matter to the African Union, with a view to establishing whether Gadaffi was secretly funding sectarian crises in Nigeria.



”Gadaffi’s statement is very inciting; we must condemn the man so that we can move forward as a nation.”



“Our founding fathers worked very hard to bring us to where we are today; our differences have been our strength,” he added.



A member from Benue State, Mr. Emmanuel Jime, had proposed an amendment to Agoda’s motion, urging Nigeria to sever ties with Libya.







 

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