The Federal Government on Monday summoned the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, over the derogatory remarks by President Donald Trump on immigrants.
Trump was quoted in media reports as referring to African countries as ‘shithole countries’ in a fit of anger, a comment that annoyed many concerned nations and generated serious criticisms from the United Nations, African Union and others.
The US President had however denied making the statement.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, had sought clarification from the ambassador on the veracity of the substance of the remarks.
He stressed that if the statements were true, they were deeply hurtful, offensive and unacceptable, “given the very warm and cordial relations that presently exist between the Nigerian Government and the Government of the United States of America.”
But Symington told the minister that there were contradicting accounts by those present as to the veracity or otherwise of the substance of Trump’s remarks.
The ambassador, who was represented by the Deputy Chief of Mission, US Embassy, David Young, stressed that his government held the people of Nigeria in very high regard and valued the warm relations and excellent cooperation between the two countries.
“The American government continues to hold the people of Nigeria in very high regard and values the warm relations and excellent cooperation between the two countries and look forward to building on this relationship for the mutual benefit of the two countries,” a statement by the ministry spokesman, Tope Elias-Fatile, quoted the envoy as saying.