Written by Aisha Umar Agaie & Nasidi A. Yahaya:
The Federal Government yesterday recalled its ambassador, Alhaji Isah Mohammed, from the Libyan Peoples Arab Socialist Jamharriyah “for consultations” following Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s call on Tuesday for the splitting of Nigeria into two, along religious lines.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Ozo Nwobu said yesterday that the recall was with effect from yesterday.
He said, “The recall of Nigeria’s ambassador back to Nigeria is an act of protest in diplomatic circles and it will enable government find out some information about the Nigerian embassy’s assessment of the situation in Libya, which will determine further action”.
Nwobu said, “The intensive and oftentimes irresponsible utterances of Col. Qaddafi, his thematic grandstanding at 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 Jos crisis are most unacceptable and unbecoming of any leader who claims to advocate and champion the cause of African integration and unity”.
He said media reports about the execution of fourteen Nigerians in Libya could not yet be confirmed because the federal government was yet to receive any formal information to that effect. He said it will be confirmed when Ambassador Isa Mohamed returns to the country. Government is aware that some Nigerians are on death row in Libya, he said.
He said “the Federal Government welcomes well meaning comments from concerned members of the international community regarding the crises in Plateau State. The government hereby reassures all Nigerians and the international community that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Nigeria are sacrosanct and non-negotiable.”
Meanwhile, The House of Representatives yesterday summoned the Libyan ambassador in Nigeria over the recent comments credited to the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi calling for the splitting of Nigeria into two along religious lines. The House adopted the resolution after a motion sponsored by Rep Halims Agoda (PDP-Delta State).
Agoda said the comments were a contradiction of Gaddafi’s struggle to establish one single African country, saying “how can he advocate for a single African country and at the same time calling for the break-up of another country?”
Similarly the House urged Acting President Goodluck Jonathan to recall Nigeria’s ambassador to Libya for consultations over the comments. The members also urged the securities agencies to urgently launch investigations to ascertain if there was any relationship between Gaddafi’s comments and the recurring religious crises in some parts of the country.
Many of the members who spoke condemned the statement and also attributed it to the ignorance of the composition and structure of Nigeria by the Libyan leader. Many members recalling other inflammatory remarks on international issues by Gaddafi.
Former House Speaker Mrs. Patricia Etteh said, “We can afford to ignore the messenger but not the message, because it is a fact that we are currently being challenged as a nation by religious-induced crises that claimed thousands of lives.”
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