Femi Fani-Kayode, former Aviation minister, has slammed the British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ben Llewellyn-Jones, over critisism that he engaged in hate speech.
The envoy had faulted the All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwart on some comments he made during the governorship election in Lagos State but Fani-Kayode responded in a tweet, saying Nigeria was a no longer slave to its former colonial masters.
Speaking on a current affairs programme on Sunday, Llewellyn-Jones said the ruling party had not condenmed the comments of Fani-Kayode who said Lagos belongs to Yoruba people.
Among others, he said: “People chanting anti-Igbo messages and walking on the streets by polling units on elections day is totally unacceptable. Not just in Lagos, but also in Enugu and Rivers were we had our teams as well and many other places…”
He also expressed displeasure over controversial comments made by Fani-Kayode.
Asked if there were triggers of violence leading up from the campaign to the election, the UK envoy said he was puzzled as to why Fani-Kayode would make such statements, adding that the APC should have distanced itself from the former minister’s utterances.
Llewellyn-Jones said the UK was collating names of election violence perpetrators and would impose sanctions which will include preventing people from obtaining UK visas or imposing sanctions under the human rights sanctions regime.
He said the UK Minister of State for Development and Africa, Andrew Mitchell MP, was prepared to take action against those who incited electoral violence during the just-concluded general elections.
However, Fani-Kayode, who served as a spokesman for the APC presidential campaign council said foreign diplomats are not supposed to interfere in Nigeria’s internal affairs.
“Permit me to add the following addendum to my earlier personal response to the little Englander. I ask, who is this strange little British diplomat who believes he can tell us what Lagos state should be like in terms of ethnic make-up and how it should be run?
“He has accused me of hate speech and incitement simply because I said Lagos is not a no man’s land and that the Yoruba ought to be respected in their territory. Well let me say clearly and categorically that I have no apology for saying this and I stand by every word I said. We do not need any lessons from him. Foreign diplomats come to this country to enhance our relationship with theirs and not to give us lectures.
“They are not supposed to interfere in our internal affairs, to be partial, to tell us what to do or to tell us how to do it. They are meant to observe in studied silence and make their concerns and representations, if any, known privately. They cannot get into the political ring of fire.
“That strange little bald man with slooping shoulders at the British Embassy has really got a nerve. I will take up this matter formally. His diplomatic immunity is not absolute: it is qualified. He is therefore subject to our laws.
“As for his threats, I challenge him to do his very worst. We are not your slaves. Nigeria is an independent sovereign nation. We are no longer a colony. To hell with him and those that are egging him on and licking his feet. I am FFK: I fear no-one and I bow before no man,” Fani Kayode said.