Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
The presidency said on Tuesday that Nigeria did not attend the relocation of the United States Embassy from Tel-A-Aviv to Jerusalem, Israel’s capital.
According to a presidential source, who said contrary to a report by Al Jazeera that Nigeria was present at the relocation event, the federal government had written a letter to Al Jazeera, demanding a retraction of its story that listed Nigeria as one of the countries represented at the event.
He said on the basis of Al Jazeera report, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, had queried the Nigerian Ambassador to Israel to explain the rationale for his presence at the event.
“Based on that report, the minister queried the ambassador to explain why he attended the event. The ambassador has since replied that he was not at the event.
“It was on the strength of the ambassador’s response that the federal government wrote to Al Jazeera to retract its story,” he said.
The US had last Monday implemented President Donald Trump’s declaration in December 2017 which recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a move long sought by Israel.
Trump had addressed the ceremony which took place amid road closures and heavy police presence in anticipation of Palestinian protests and deadly demonstrations in Gaza calling for the refugees’ right to return to the homes they were forcibly expelled from 70 years ago via a recorded video message.
“Today, we follow through on this recognition and open our embassy in the historic and sacred land of Jerusalem, and we’re opening it many, many years ahead of schedule,” Trump said.