Buhari to Atiku: Settle Your Issues with US and Stop Clutching at Straws

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President says he was never banned from any country

Iyobosa Uwugiaren in Abuja

There was a strong pushback from the Presidency Saturday on former Vice President Atiku Abubakar’s allegation that President Muhammadu Buhari was banned from entering the United States, with the president pointedly mocking the former vice president for being unable to visit America for over a decade.

In a press statement issued last night in Abuja, the special adviser to the president on media and publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said Atiku’s claim was outlandish and came as a surprise from a former Number Two citizen, who should know the truth.

Atiku had alleged in an interview with a newspaper that Buhari was banned from the U.S. because of reservations about his religious views. “For about 15 years, Buhari could not enter America on account of religious considerations,” Atiku said in an interview. The former vice president was responding to a question on why he had not visited the U.S. for many years, amid speculations that he might be wanted in that country in connection with fraud-related deals.

Though, Atiku had explained that he made attempts to go to the U.S. but was not issued visa on administrative grounds, Adesina insinuated he was merely prevaricating to conceal the truth.

The president’s spokesman said in the statement, “At no time was President Buhari, as a private person, ever forbidden from entering any country in the world. Rather, the rest of the world has always held Muhammadu Buhari as a man of sterling qualities, strong on integrity, transparency and accountability. The same testimony is still borne of the Nigerian President by many world leaders today.”

Adesina said, “It is curious that former Vice President Abubakar had been asked why he had not visited America for over a decade, something that had been a stubborn fact dogging his footsteps.”
He said instead of answering directly, Atiku begged the question, saying Buhari also had been disallowed from entering the same country for 15 years, before becoming president.

“We hereby make it resoundingly clear that what the former vice president said only exists in the realm of his imagination. If he has issues to settle with American authorities, he should do so, rather than clutch at a straw,” the statement added.

The former vice president, who has pronounced his intention to vie for the post of president in 2019, resigned from the ruling All Progressives Congress recently and is readying to return to his former party, Peoples Democratic Party. His exit is believed to have triggered a faceoff with Buhari, who has also hinted at seeking a second term, with spats like the latest one as part of the manifestations of the simmering chaos.

Atiku’s problem with the US began when a US Congressman Williams Jefferson was indicted and jailed in 2009 on a 16-count charge relating to his business dealings with Africa including a discovery of $90,000 in cash stashed in his freezer allegedly for the former vice president.

Though Atiku has denied any connection with the alleged fraudulent transaction, the US has not filed any charge against him. The former vice president has, however, not stepped his foot on US soil since the issue broke out.

On the other hand, Buhari has long been accused of holding extreme religious views, and the allegations seemed to get to a head in 2001, when he declared his commitment to the Islamic doctrine of Shari’a and, reportedly, called on Muslims to only vote for their fellow Muslims during elections.

  • henry price

    comrades some politicians will make virtually any outrageous remark to get media attention with their belief being being in news even for making wrong remark is of greater benefit to politician as oppose to not being in news at all. Atiku fit that mold of incompetent politicians who perform such actions but, President Buhari is holding Atiku to truth of issue thus nullifying media attention benefit to Atiku on this issue. Very much sincere, Henry Author (people of books) Price Jr. aka Obediah Buntu IL-Khan aka Kankan aka Gue.

  • Jaybanj

    Nigerians! We must wake up and deal with the issue at hand. We are in a situation where we turn a blind eye to stealing, fraud, murder etc We are telling our children and future generations that it is OKAY to be a thief, it is okay to steal from people and destroy your country. We are telling them that we dont disgrace thieves , we celebrate them. Atiku is bared from the US because of Fraud, corruption and money laundering. the Americans jailed their own citizen that was involved, we are celebrating our own thief. Atiku, Ibori, Dariye etc This trend will DESTROY Nigeria if care is not taken, gradually thugs and gangsters will rule over us. As for me I will tell my children that NO – You should NOT celebrate a thief, you should not idolize a fraudster. These people destroy lives through corruption. So all of you who have been paid to write in and support Nigeria – remember your family, children and Nigeria. this is NOT about Buhari, it is about Atiku and he is a thief!

  • Dauda

    Though I do not support Atiku, the US denied and revoked their Visas at will. They labeled Nelson Mandela as terrorist and had refused to recognise his struggles. They revoked Visa of the son of Margaret Thatcher. They labeled Marcus Garvey as terrorist and denied him Visa. They have denied Visas of politicians of many countries and top businessmen. What is new? As I said though, Atiku does not have the integrity. With how many wives and over 30 children. The youths in Nigeria must be the worst illiterates to accept him as president. What is the moral example that he is setting to tell young people about self control?. Setting up another village in Aso Rock villa

  • Chuma Anierobi

    Atiku must be asking Buhari for his certificate and this will do the job.

  • Orphic

    Obviously election season is at hand, otherwise Buhari, who has shown a complete insensitivity to media issues, would not deign to personally engage with anyone on the pages of a newspaper. Atiku is trying to position himself – to the PDP, as a strong, credible and legitimate opponent to Buhari through media attacks.
    Otherwise the entire issue is puerile.

  • Milito

    What of a country and their rofo rofo politics? Please must the presidency throw punches at any one or thing that appears like opposition? Fighting Atiku only but confirms that he is indeed a threat to the throne otherwise I should expect you ignore him.

    Again how does the ability to visit US become the qualifying criteria to be elected Nigerian President? The ability to fix the economy and other socio – political challenges is what matters and not the stupid opinion of the US….

    • LasgidyPort

      You are getting it twisted. It was Atiku that threw punches, the presidency only replied him to clear the fallacies contained in his interview.

  • john

    Atiku stop wasting your time spewing lies. Buhari has seen worse thrown at him. Lies don’t stick on buhari.

    • Ken

      Lies don’t stick on him but reality of the moment sticks on him. Hunger knows no propaganda. At the appropriate time we will gauge his stewardship and know if he has done well or not. When you are unable to recharge your data with which you come here to rant, then and only then we will know whether he has done well or not.

  • Drake Solo

    This release should have been given to Garbage Shehu to sign. He has vanished since his benefactor upped his tempo on 2019 presidential elections.

    • yusuf Mikail

      The guy go soon ‘port’! Then, APC will understand what’s gwan. The smart ones will soon leave APC. My predict.

  • Ade Whenu

    I am rather baffled how who is able to visit US, has any bearing on addressing the poltical and economic challenges facing Nigeria.

    Nigerians should start to realise, we are all complicit in the problem we are facing, as we keep allowing visionless and brain dead people to rule us. Thrash in, thrash out!

    • bigdaddy

      The implication is that you are persona non grata because you are a criminal, rogue, terrorist, or all of the above. That has a lot of bearing on who becomes president.

      • Ade Whenu

        Did America request the expatriation of Atiku? Well not that I am aware off. I also know he visits European countries regularly, all signed up signatories to repatriation agreement with United States.

        So from my perspective, Atiku is innocent until proven otherwise. There is no saint in government in Nigeria.

        I will rather questions are premised on how the issue of Nigerians feeling marginalised is addressed? What policies or ideas he has, to stipulate the economy and create jobs?

        How we make funding available for our young and fledging entrepreneurs.

        • bigdaddy

          You still do not get it. Atiku is being interviewed by a journalist and the common gist on the street is that he is afraid to go to the U.S because he is afraid he will be arrested on money laundering charges. It is apparently true from his response that he has not set foot there in 10yrs and it seems from his response that he was denied a visa.

          What it seems you do not realize is that perception is reality in politics. If many people think it is true he is wanted for money laundering in the U.S., he stands the risk of losing many voters. I certainly will not vote for anyone if that type of allegation is true. Hence, it becomes a legitimate question to ask him and for him to provide a logical explanation. No one is saying he has been convicted of those allegations and i certainly will be interested in an allegation of such seriousness being cleared by a candidate i intend to vote for and not just his policies.

          Are you not tired of all the kleptomaniacs that have ruled this country including the present one?

          • Ade Whenu

            Tired is an understatement, as I am absolutely fed up of them. Pleased to say I have never voted for any of them. It is frustrating that most nations in the world are just getting on with things and making progress, and these vision-less men are killing peoples dreams and aspirations.

          • bigdaddy

            That is true my friend. So the issue is not really about visiting the U.S or not but basically the question could have been framed thus- is it true that you are a thief- Of course nobody will say yes.

          • chyke

            We have a Senator who is docking and diving to avoid extradition to the US, because of alleged criminal activities. Like they say “The guilty are afraid”.
            What this is all about Atiku being a fugitive from justice, I do not think that is new in Nigeria. I think it was Obasanjo that alleged that most of our Legislators were criminals. Which if you thought about it, tends to confirm this assertion. These Legislators are robbing us blind.

      • Candidly

        You do not know the law.
        You can only be declared “persona non grata” when you are on the soil of a hostile country and then you are asked to leave.
        The Obama administration declared some Russians persona non grata and they were EXPELLED from the United States just before he (Obama) left office.
        Atiku has only been refused visa like other 50% Nigerian US visa applicants. He was never declared persona non grata.

        • bigdaddy

          Lol. Do not take me literally.

    • FrNinja

      Atiku was implicated in money laundering with millions of dollars of cash moved to various accounts of his wife jennifer iwenjora aka jennifer jamila abubakar in the US. There is a US Senate report on it.

      • Ken

        Interpol has 192 member countries, including the United States. Atiku is a constant visitor to many other Western countries that are signatories to the Interpol treaty.

        Why has he not been extradited to the US from such countries to face trials if indeed he is a wanted man in the US?

        If America says they don’t want Atiku in their country through denial of visa to him, how does that translate to being a fugitive from the American laws?

        I am very disappointed that Buhari draws his life wire from youth like you, the very segment of the society whose future he has completely destroyed.

        • Chuma Anierobi

          What is so great to make this an issue. Justice Oputa forbade Buhari from office of any sort in Nigeria and this should be an issue. No account of missing money at PTF under angel Buhari.

        • What was the background checks on Atiku by the US, since Buhari’s was on religious views? If he says it is administrative, biko, what is administrative that is taking this long? B1/B2 visa applicants are either accepted or rejected instanta.

          • Candidly

            Thank you
            It is the prerogative of the US to decide whom they want on their soil.

          • Jaybanj

            And it the RESPONSIBILITY of Nigerians not to elect a THIEF as president!!

        • Candidly

          Thank you.
          Atiku is not the only one that the US has denied Visa.
          50% of Nigerian applicants are denied the US visas every day.

        • FrNinja

          US has a laws that ban visas from being issued to politically exposed persons involved in corruption. Siemens admitted paying bribes into the account of atikus wife jennifer abubakar in the usa. Atiku was mentioned also in the igate scandal where a us congressman was jailed for money laundering.

        • Jaybanj

          My friend – YOU know why he isnt allowed in the US. We as Nigerians need to realise what we are doing to future generations, our children and the world they will live in. We are making dishonesty, fraud, stealing OKAY. We are supporting and idolizing thieves, we are telling our children , it doesn’t matter if you dont have integrity. This is what will DESTROY Nigeria. Atiku is a dishonest THIEF (Mr customs officer), his accomplice in the US was jailed and America is being careful about how they deal with him and also concerned that we as Nigerinas will possibly make him president. This s why they jailed his American accomplice but haven’t made to much noise about him.

      • Candidly

        Please help us publish a LINK TO THAT REPORT. I NEED IT.

        • FrNinja

          https://www.hsgac.senate.gov/download/report-psi-staff-report-keeping-foreign-corruption-out-of-the-united-states-four-case-histories

          “As explained earlier, in December 2008, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed criminal and civil pleadings alleging that Siemens AG had violated the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and engaged in a wide-ranging pattern of paying bribes to foreign officials to advance its interests in several countries. Siemens pled guilty to violating the books and recordkeeping requirements of the FCPA.1093 One provision in the SEC complaint alleged as follows:

          “[A]pproximately $2.8 million of the bribe payments was routed through a bank account in Potomac, Maryland, in the name of the wife of a former Nigerian Vice President. The Vice President’s wife, a dual U.S.-Nigerian citizen living in the United States, served as the representative of a business consultant that entered into fictitious business consultant agreements … but did no actual work for Siemens. The purpose of these payments was to
          bribe government officials. Other corrupt payments included the purchase of approximately $172,000 in watches for Nigerian officials designated in internal Siemens records as ‘P.’ and ‘V.P.,’ likely referring to the President and Vice President of Nigeria.”

          The Subcommittee contacted Siemens about this allegation and also reviewed the Citibank account records. The Subcommittee identified Citibank records showing three wire transfers from Siemens AG, in 2001 and 2002, that together provided over $1.7 million to
          Ms. Douglas’ personal checking account at Citibank.

          • Candidly

            Thank you for this link sir.
            But I have not seen an Atiku indictment for fraud anywhere in the link.
            We are looking at verifiable issues. I believe that the United States should have gone along to indict the Nigerian government officials involved even if for posterity sake. I only saw a mention of P and VP and in actual terms is a nobody.
            THANKS again.

          • FrNinja

            MONEY LAUNDERING. READ.

          • LasgidyPort

            You didnt see the name Abubakar??

      • Victor

        You did not remember that “report” in 2015 when he Atiku was part of the funding of Buhari/APC presidential campaigns…. HYPOCRITES everywhere.

        • Jaybanj

          Actually we remembered and we complained about him then to!

    • Chuma Anierobi

      Our sense of judgement fails us as we are not able to know when a good team is on the ground.

      • WJasper

        How can a man denied of visa to US become my President?
        Unthinkable!

        • Candidly

          When did denial or issuance of US visa become a ground for Eligibility to stand elections in Nigeria?

  • Ken

    Eligibility to visit US should not be the qualification for who wants to be President of Nigeria. This argument is neocolonialism at its best!

    Please let’s stay with the issues; has Buhari done well to earn a second vote from us? Does Atiku possess the requisite credentials to make Nigerians jettison Buhari? This should be what should be agitating our minds at this time.

    I am aware that Nelson Mandela, an international statesman (arguably the greatest black man to have ever existed), remained in the American Terrorist Watch list until shortly before his death. Lin Kua Yew remained a dictator in the eyes of the West until Singapore became a success story through his revolution.

    So, I care less what America thinks of any us. What we think of our leaders is what matters in this election.

    • Fowad

      Mandela was a Western imposition. We embraced him in Africa as our leader, as if he was Lumumba or Thomas Sankara. Neither Buhari nor Atiku can stand on their own without help from America. They want to be Western impositions too.

      • adefowora

        Mandela , a western imposition in your own jaundiced view . eh ?

    • FrNinja

      Mandela shortly after his release from prison visited harlem in the usa. Lee Kwan Yew was a frequent visitor to theUSA.

      • Ken

        May be, the below excerpt from NBC News May help you. Mandela’s name was removed from the US Terrorist Watch List in 2008, his visits to the US notwithstanding. My point is that the West only gives one any tag they like just for their own convenience and national interest and most cases they don’t represent the actual situation. Mandela presents a perfect case for this.
        _________________________________

        US government considered Nelson Mandela a terrorist until 2008
        by ROBERT WINDREM, INVESTIGATIVE PRODUCER, NBC NEWS
        SHARE

        President George H. W. Bush shakes hands with South African national leader Nelson Mandela at the White House in Washington, June 25, 1990. Doug Mills / AP
        From the White House to the halls of Congress, U.S. government officials have responded to the death of Nelson Mandela with a hail of testimonials to the late South African president’s leadership in the struggle for freedom and human rights.

        Until five years ago, however, the U.S. officially considered Mandela a terrorist. During the Cold War, both the State and Defense departments dubbed Mandela’s political party, the African National Congress, a terrorist group, and Mandela’s name remained on the U.S. terrorism watch list till 2008.

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        Presidents Carter and Reagan and Congress had all instituted sanctions against the white minority South African government because of its policy of racial apartheid. But in 1986, Reagan condemned Mandela’s group, the ANC, which was leading the black struggle against the apartheid regime, saying it engaged in “calculated terror … the mining of roads, the bombings of public places, designed to bring about further repression.”

        After the apartheid regime in South Africa declared the ANC a terrorist group, the Reagan administration followed suit.

        In August of 1988, the State Department listed the ANC among “organizations that engage in terrorism.” It said the group ”disavows a strategy that deliberately targets civilians,” but noted that civilians had “been victims of incidents claimed by or attributed to the ANC.”

        Five months later, in January 1989, the Defense Department included the ANC in an official publication, “Terrorist Group Profiles,” with a foreword by President-elect George H.W. Bush. The ANC was listed among 52 of the “world’s more notorious terrorist groups.” (One of the others listed, Yasser Arafat’s Fatah, is now the ruling party in the West Bank.)

        The publication referred to Mandela, who had once led the ANC’s military wing, as part of the “leadership,” though by then he had spent more than a quarter century in prison. It also accepted the apartheid regime’s claim that “ANC’s operations — which heretofore had sought to avoid civilian casualties — abruptly changed. Attacks became more indiscriminate, resulting in both black and white civilian victims.” Five months before the report was issued, the ANC had taken responsibility for some attacks that resulted in civilian deaths but had pledged to prevent a recurrence.

        Play How Mandela transformed the world Facebook Twitter Embed
        How Mandela transformed the world 2:48
        The report cited 13 attacks during the 1980s, many of which targeted government facilities, including a military command headquarters, an unfinished nuclear plant, a courthouse and SASOL, the government-owned coal-to-oil conversion facility. Of those incidents that resulted in deaths, the biggest was a car-bombing of the South African Air Force headquarters in Pretoria that killed 19 and wounded 200.

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        The report also claimed significant links between the ANC and Communist countries, noting that the ANC “receives support from the Soviet bloc, Cuba and a number of African nations in addition to contributions from the West.” The DoD report added that the ANC received many of its weapons from the “Soviet Bloc” and listed among its “political objectives” the establishment of a “multiracial Socialist government in South Africa.”

        When the Defense Department’s report was issued, State quickly distanced itself from the harsh, Cold War rhetoric. Despite its own earlier dire characterization of the ANC, it called the group “a politically diverse organization, representing a range of views. It is the oldest black nationalist movement in South Africa.”

        But the Defense Department stood by its language, and Mandela and other ANC officials remained on the terror watch list even as President Bush welcomed Mandela, newly released from prison, to the White House in 1990. Because of what was described as a “bureaucratic snafu,” their names were kept on the list until 2008, 14 years after Mandela had been elected president and nine years after he had left power. He was 90 at the time.

        The terrorist designation finally proved too embarrassing for the U.S. government to ignore. In April 2008, during the last year of the George W. Bush administration, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told a Senate committee that her department had to issue waivers for ANC members to travel to the United States.

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        “This is a country with which we now have excellent relations, South Africa, but it’s frankly a rather embarrassing matter that I still have to waive in my own counterpart, the foreign minister of South Africa, not to mention the great leader Nelson Mandela,” Rice said.

        Later that year, the terrorist designation was dropped after a bill, proposed by then-Senator now secretary of State John Kerry, passed both houses of Congress and was signed by President Bush.

        Mandela was imprisoned in 1964 after being arrested and charged with sabotage, specifically a campaign against the country’s power grid, and plotting to overthrow the government. No one was injured in the sabotage campaign. He was released in 1990, at age 71. He was elected president of South Africa in 1994, in the country’s first full and free elections, and served

    • Candidly

      THANK YOU.
      WE DO NOT NEED AMERICAN VISAS AND TRIPS TO ELECT OUR PRESIDENTS.

  • Fowad

    Who will be battered more in these mudslingings between Atiku and Buhari? I think I have an answer.

  • Jon West

    A USA Visa is now the prerequisite for contesting the Nigerian Presidency? Why did God hitch us with these denizens of underdevelopment in the blighted and devastated North of Nigeria? To hell with Nigeria!!

    • Magnus0071mg

      We are falling down falling down falling down…….

  • AyoJon

    The rofo rofo fight has started

  • Toby

    Is America the heaven that Jesus promised?

    • AyoJon

      I wonder. Nigerians threatening themselves with US

      • Magnus0071mg

        It a standard contrived by APC supporters for Kashimu and being used by NDLEA and EFCC to harrass “enemies of Buhari’s government”

        • duwdu

          Senator Kashamu was hounded by President Jonathan’s regime, not Buhari’s — at least not this far.

          ……..
          P34c3
          …..

    • Pluti

      It only shows they are not qualified and patriotic enough to be Nigerian leaders

    • Candidly

      NO