The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom
Wike, has said that his recent meeting with the Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria
was not to offer support for Israel against Palestine in the ongoing conflict
between both sides.
Wike had a meeting on October 3, with the Israeli Ambassador
to Nigeria, Mr. Michael Freeman, where he expressed the willingness of his
administration to partner with the State of Israel on agriculture, information
technology and the security of the nation’s capital.
The meeting was before the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel
that resulted in the death of more than 1,400 people and more than 200 taken as
hostages and the retaliatory onslaughts and bombings unleashed on Gaza by the
Israeli Defence Force (IDF), which have left more than 4,000 Palestinians dead
and almost one million people displaced.
The minister, at a recent meeting with the leadership of the
Abuja National Mosque Management Board plainly denied having the constitutional
powers to determine Nigeria’s diplomatic relations with other countries.
He insisted such powers were conferred on the President and
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
Wike said he read on social media platforms about having a
covet meeting with Israel.
“I am here acting on delegation of powers on behalf of Mr.
“I cannot determine a relationship between a country and
another country. So, it is difficult for anybody to say I am doing this, I am
“Any foreign body that wants to have anything to do with
Nigeria, it is the Minister of Foreign Affairs who will write to me and state
that these people want to see me; it is simple. And when they come, it is in my
position to say look, we want to partner with you. Take for instance, you are
going into agriculture and we want to partner, then we tell you where exactly,
He insisted that his meeting with the Israeli Ambassador was
purely to promote agricultural partnership in the interest of the farmers in
The minister said: “In Abuja here, most of them have
cultural farms and we say look, it is our own desire to help anybody who wants
to invest in Abuja particularly in agriculture in order to employ our people
and in order to get more revenue. It has nothing to do with another country.
“When our people begin to now think different angles and
people may not understand that it is not correct. So, I will like to use this
opportunity to say look we have to talk to our people. In fact we must live
harmoniously. We must live together to make sure that development is promoted.”
The meeting with the Israeli envoy and the violence that has
embroiled the Middle-East has led to some elements to insinuate that Wike was
offering Nigeria’s support to Israel.
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