Jonathan cannot apologise over Nigeria, Morocco phone row – Minister

President Goodluck Jonathan will not apologise to Nigerians after his administration made a false claim that he spoke via telephone with the King of Morocco, Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister has said.

The minister, Aminu Wali, said if ongoing investigations show that there is need for an apology, he, not Mr. Jonathan, will be the one to apologise.

President Jonathan admitted Friday that he did not speak on telephone with the King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, as claimed last week by the foreign affairs ministry, a false claim that sparked a diplomatic spat with Morocco recalling its ambassador.

Mr. Jonathan has ordered an investigation into the scandal, and has vowed to punish the officials responsible for it.

But the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, has urged the president to go a step further and apologise to Nigerians for the embarrassment.

The Foreign Minister, Mr. Wali, urged Nigerians not to politicize the face-off, saying Mr. Jonathan has no hand in it.

Speaking at the Presidential Villa Abuja after meeting with President Jonathan, Mr. Wali said he has since commenced investigation, as directed by the president, to fish out the culprits behind the misinformation that has led to diplomatic row.

“I have already taken action on the President’s directive and of course some people are trying to make this whole thing political,” he said.

“And of course, at this level of our diplomacy, a lot of things can happen. So we are trying to find out, and I will like to say that the President has nothing to do with it. This is something that has happened and there is a bit of mix-up somewhere along the line. We are going to unravel it. 

“So the President has nothing to do with it. Therefore, people should not, like I hear some senators from the opposition asking the President to apologise to the country. Now this is, if at all there is anybody who is going to apologise, and I being the Minister of Foreign Affairs, will be the one to apologise and not Mr. President”.

Asked if the statement claiming that the president spoke to Mohammed VI of Morocco, when indeed he did not, went out without his knowledge, Mr. Wali said: “It is something that I am digging into. The President asked me to look into it and I am looking into it”.

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