US Heaps Contempt On Lai’s Advice, Grants Atiku Visa As He Jets Out To UK First

 

The Oasis Reporters

December 1, 2018

PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar is already on a trip to settle the controversy over his eligibility to enter the United States of America.

The United States of America has shown their stuff that no one dictates to them on what to do. Therefore when on Thursday, Nigeria’s Minister Of Information, Lai Mohammed warned the US to be cautious in granting visa to the main opponent of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019, they got so peeved and angry that the US Public Affairs Officer of the United States Consulate in Lagos, promptly replied on a visit to Ibadan, Friday in a parley with the media, that the case of Atiku’s US visa status has been an issue in the papers for sometime, but “the position of the US Mission has remained the same throughout any discussion of this issue, that visas are a confidential matter.

“We don’t discuss individual visa status of any person, whether it be a highly rated official, a presidential candidate or an average citizen.

“Anyone who applies for a visa should know that there will be some records that are confidential. It is classified as private document by the United States Government, and we never discuss them in public.”

It was a veiled rebuke from Russell Brooks to Lai Mohammed.

Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was promptly issued a visa to the United States.

By Saturday, the former vice-president left Nigeria for the UK, where he will spend some time before flying to the US.

According to TheCable, former president Olusegun Obasanjo played a “critical” role in getting the American government to issue the visa to his former deputy with whom he was estranged for almost 15 years.

The trip marks another chapter in the controversy that has rocked the former vice-president for over a decade.

Atiku, who is widely travelled, has not been to the US in 13 years, initially fueling speculations that he might be avoiding possible arrest or prosecution.

His political opponents had used his absence from the US not just to taunt but to discredit him.

His row with the US authorities began after the FBI investigated a bribery scandal involving William Jefferson, former US congressman, in 2004.

Atiku was accused of demanding a bribe of $500,000 to facilitate the award of contracts to two American telecommunication firms in Nigeria.

The FBI had searched his residence in the posh neighbourhood of Potomac, Maryland, but no money was found.

The investigators had videotaped Jefferson, who was the congressman representing Louisiana, receiving $100,000 worth of $100 bills which he claimed was meant for Atiku, but the former vice-president has consistently denied the allegation.

Despite Atiku’s claim to innocence, the controversy raged.

Two months before he declared interest in the 2019 presidential race, Atiku granted an interview to Dele Momodu, celebrity journalist, and editor-in-chief cum publisher of Ovation Magazine, where he clarified his absence from the US.

“It is the sole prerogative of America to determine who they want in their country or not,” he said.

“I’m not running away from America. I applied but wasn’t issued a visa.”

He said the US did not categorically deny him visa.

“They’ve only said my application is going through administrative process,” he said.

Some All Progressives Congress (APC) members had alleged that Brian Ballard, publicist of US President Donald Trump, was working towards relaxing the visa ban on Atiku.

Meanwhile Nigerians have charged Atiku Abubakar to work on making Nigeria work, to diminish the lure of going abroad for whatever reason. Rather, let other nationals come to Nigeria for things like medical tourism, education and work. All that has formed a part of the presidential candidate’s campaign theme.

Additional Source: TheCable

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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