Nigerian envoy criticises Giriraj Singh's 'racist remarks' | india | Hindustan Times
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Nigerian envoy criticises Giriraj Singh's 'racist remarks'

india Updated: Apr 01, 2015 19:01 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

Nigeria has reacted sharply to junior minister Giriraj Singh's racist remark that the Congress would not have accepted Sonia Gandhi as its party president if she was from that country.

"It is quite unacceptable, coming from an honourable minister in the Indian government," Nigerian high commissioner OB Okongor told NDTV on Wednesday hours after Singh's remark was reported.

"India, Nigeria have close ties, such remarks are not expected," he added.

The high commissioner also said he will take the matter up with the Indian government.

Earlier, Giriraj Singh in an interaction with the media had said, "If former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi had married a Nigerian woman, if she wasn't white skinned, would the Congress have accepted her as its president?"

After his remark embarassed the government and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, Singh backtracked and said he 'regretted if the comment hurt Soniaji and Rahulji.'

The minister of state for micro, small and medium enterprises also said he was speaking 'off the the record', an excuse that was further slammed by political opponents.

This is the second time in recent years that an Indian minister has fallen foul with Nigerian nationals. In January 2014, a group of Nigerian and Ugandan women took Delhi law minister Somnath Bharti to court for allegedly harassing them in the name of searches.

Bharti did not make it to chief minister Arvind Kejriwal's team when he formed the government a second time.

(With inputs from TV reports)