- The presidency has reportedly denied Nigeria’s presence at the US Jerusalem embassy opening
- The Nigerian ambassador to Israel allegedly said he was not present at the event
- An anonymous source from the presidency said the federal government has written to Aljazeera to retract its story
The presidency has reportedly denied that Nigeria was represented at Monday’s official opening of the United States embassy in Jerusalem, Israel.
The controversial move to relocate the embassy from Tel Aviv by the President Donald Trump administration provoked Palestinians who carried out a deadly protest during the ceremony thought to have been attended by Nigeria along with dozens of other nations.
Vanguard however reports that a top presidency official has now distanced Nigeria from the event, saying in Abuja on Tuesday, May 15, that the country was not represented.
NAIJ.com gathered that the official who did not want to be named said in a statement distributed to the media: “Nigeria was not present at an event during which the United States officially relocated its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on Monday contrary to media report.”
The source said the federal government had written to a foreign medium, Al Jazeera, demanding a retraction of its story that listed Nigeria as one of the countries represented at the event.
The presidency official disclosed that based on the report, the minister of foreign affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, queried the Nigerian ambassador to Israel to explain his presence at the event.
The source said: “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.”
The embassy opening took place amid road closures and heavy police presence in anticipation of Palestinian protests, as well as deadly demonstrations in Gaza calling for the refugees’ right to return to the homes they were forcibly expelled from 70 years ago.
Trump had promised during his campaign that he would recognize Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel and relocate the US embassy to the city.
In December 2017, he fulfilled the first part of that campaign promise by declaring Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in line with the wish of Israel.
On Monday, May 14, Trump said via a video message to the ceremony: “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.”
NAIJ.com previously reported that health officials accused Israeli forces of killing more than 50 Palestinians in Gaza on Monday, May 14.
The officials said the 58 Palestinians were killed at the boundary fence with Gaza on the same day the United States of America opened its new embassy in Jerusalem.
The victims, Washington Post reports, were gathered on the edges of the fenced-off and blockaded territory following the 'March of Return' protest.
The protesters mainly carried their children and flags into the arena.
Unknown to the protesters, Israeli forces were not ready to allow a breach even as organisers of the protest urged the crowd to burst through the fence.
While ambulance screamed and gunshot leading to the death of many filled the air, no soldier was hurt in the process which has drawn global condemnation of the excessive use of force against the protesters.
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