Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria’s immediate-past President, has denied owning a £15m property in the United Kingdom, which a former Editor of the UK SUN, Kelvin Mackenzie, had credited to the Nigerian leader in his weekly column on Saturday that Jonathan had bought a property in Surrey.
The former editor, who tried to play pun on Jonathan’s name, said in the write-up, “I hear the aptly named Goodluck Jonathan, the former President of oil-rich Nigeria, has bought a 12,000 square foot house on the ultra-expensive and well protected St George’s Hill estate in Weybridge, Surrey.
“I’m sure he gained his wealth legitimately but these houses are £10-£15million a pop, so, perhaps the ex-President could explain where his money came from as he has been at the forefront of the fight against his country’s corruption. Surely, it can’t all have been good luck.”
In his reaction, Jonathan, through his media aide, Mr. Ikechukwu Eze, denied the report and demanded a retraction from the newspaper.
A statement put out by the Nigerian immediate president read in part, “Nothing could be further from the truth. Dr. Goodluck Jonathan takes pride in the fact that he does not have any property or accounts outside Nigeria. He stated this publicly while in office and his commitment to Nigeria’s economy remains total even after he left power.
“As the Nigerian President who signed the Freedom of Information bill into law, Dr. Jonathan is well aware that the United Kingdom is a nation with good record keeping at county and national levels and as such, it will not take a serious and responsible media long to verify ownership of property before rushing to the press with potentially libellous publications.
“It is hoped that this publication will correct its error and do a retraction and that other media will likewise follow up on this story to put the lie to the details it contains.”