BRITISH prime minister Boris Johnson has become involved in a fresh race row in the run-up to the December 12 elections as he is being taken to task over a newspaper column he wrote in which he described Nigerians as people with an innate interest in money.
Mr Johnson, who is looking to get re-elected on December 12, is facing claims his piece, written when he was the editor of The Spectator, was racist. In the article, Mr Johnson said young people had an almost Nigerian interest in money, which political opponents have latched onto over the last week.
Furthermore, the Conservative Party leader was also reported to have referred to black people as piccaninnies with watermelon smiles. This is just the latest in a series of controversies Mr Johnson has been involved in regarding race, as his views have always been regarded as divisive and pandering to the populist middle England vote.
In an article published in the Independent on Sunday while he was still The Spectator editor in 1999, Mr Johnson wrote: “All the young people I know i.e those under 30, are just as avaricious as we flinty Thatcherite yuppies of the 1980s. In fact, they have an almost Nigerian interest in money and gadgets of all kinds.”
Weyman Bennett, the co-convener of Stand Up to Racism, described Mr Johnson’s words as deeply racist and offensive. He said: “Boris Johnson is unfit to be a prime minister that represents the entire United Kingdom.
“He had demonstrated this by lying and falsely representing black, Asian and different communities inside this country. This is deeply offensive and unforgivable and should not be ignored and he should be held to account.”
Over recent weeks, both the Conservative and Labour parties have been criticised for their handling of race issues. Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has also struggled to move on from an intervention by the chief rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, who said his party had not done enough to tackle anti-Semitism.