Nigeria’s foreign affairs ministry on Friday summoned a top US envoy over criticisms by the embassy in Abuja of President Goodluck Jonathan’s state pardon of former governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, convicted of corruption.
According to the ministry, the deputy chief of the US embassy was summoned on Friday night “to protest a statement credited to the spokeswoman of the embassy, Deb MacLean, on the embassy’s Twitter account”
The U.S. Embassy’s Twitter account on Friday criticised President Jonathan of an unconditional pardon given to Alamieyeseigha convicted on corruption charges.
The spat began when the U.S. embassy tweeted it was ”deeply disappointed’’ over the pardon granted to the former governor of Bayelsa State.
“The Embassy of the United States of America is also reported to have described the pardon as a setback in the fight against corruption” in Nigeria.
However, Nigeria’s foreign affairs ministry said the comment was “undue interference and meddlesomeness in the internal affairs of Nigeria.”
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland also said Washington had warned the Nigerian government that it could have implications for US aid.
“The United States government was deeply disappointed over the recent pardons of corrupt officials by the Nigerian government,” Nuland said.
Asked about whether US aid to Nigeria could be at risk, she replied: “We have made clear to the Nigerians that this puts a question mark on the kinds of work that we’ve been trying to do with them.
“We’re continuing to look at what’s appropriate.”