Atiku Only Got ‘Temporary Waiver’ To Enter US - Investigations
The controversy surrounding the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar’s travel to the United States may not be over.
International news agency, Reuters, reported that the trip was a temporary reprieve.
The agency, in a report on Monday, said Abubakar’s visit to Washington two weeks ago to meet top US diplomats and lawmakers was due to a temporary suspension of a travel ban allegedly placed on him for alleged link to decade-old bribery scandals.
Although the US had yet to comment on the issue, some diplomats and others familiar with the visit, told Reuters that the former Vice-President had been barred from entering the US after he allegedly featured in two corruption cases.
Abubakar had on January 17 posted photos of his visit to the US on Twitter, as his supporters mocked the Federal Government, which had warned the US Government against giving him a visa.
The visit was said to be a proof that he had no corruption case in the US as claimed by the All Progressives Congress, the reason for which he was alleged to have not visited the US in more than a decade.
However, some US Government officials told Reuters that the travel ban was waived temporarily by the US State Department after lobbyists mounted a campaign on the Congress, arguing that the Trump administration should not snub the leading challenger to President Muhammadu Buhari.
One person familiar with the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the agency that Abubakar was allowed to enter the US because the Americans saw little benefit to creating bad blood with the man who might be the next leader of Nigeria.
Lobbyists hired by Atiku reportedly said they sought to overcome resistance at the State Department by securing support from the Congress members for the visit, as well as arguing that the top US official for African Affairs, Assistant Secretary Tibor Nagy, had an obligation to encourage democracy in Nigeria.
“Assistant Secretary Nagy was pleased to meet with him and share the US Government’s expectations that Nigeria’s elections be free, fair, transparent, and peaceful, and reflect the will of the Nigerian people,” a State Department official said, stressing that the department had not requested the waiver.
Atiku’s visa troubles started when he served as the Vice-President from 1999 to 2007.
He was reportedly indicted in the corruption trial of a former US representative, William Jefferson, who was accused of trying to bribe Atiku in an effort to expand a technology business in Nigeria.
Please share this story with your family and friends