FG Urges U.S. Not To Grant Visa To Atiku As PDP Kicks

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The Spokesman for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Kola Ologbondiyan in a telephone conversation with The Nation Newspaper said that America reserved the right on who to admit into their country.

 The government yesterday advised the United States against granting visa to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate.

To the government, issuing a visa to Atiku will amount to the creation of an impression that the US Government will be favouring a candidate over the other in the forthcoming 2019 poll.

There are indications that Atiku’s visa application is still being processed by the US Embassy.

The protest of the government came against the backdrop of the fact that Atiku was alleged to have visited the US Embassy in Abuja on Monday for fingerprints as part of steps towards issuance of visa.

While addressing a news conference yesterday, Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed advised the US Government to avoid dragging itself into Nigerian politics.

He said in the last 12 years, there had been an ongoing Congressional investigation of alleged corruption against some individuals which had made it difficult for Atiku to visit the US.

 “The issue of Atiku Abubakar and the grant of his efforts to secure a visa to visit the US. I must say that we are not at all in any panic. We will be honest in appreciating the fact that it is the prerogative of the US to grant a visa to anybody who applies” Mohammed said.

“However, the impression must not be created that the US Government is interested in one particular candidate over the other.

“As you all will be aware, for more than 12 years, there has been a congressional bi-partisan investigation of corruption against certain individuals which had made it difficult for the former Vice President to secure a US visa.

“I am sure you will all recall the Jefferson case and what they called the cold $90,000 in the fridge. This is not the making of this administration, it has been ongoing.

“Our position is that if the former VP already has a US visa, we have no problem about it. What we warn the US Government against is not to give the impression that it is endorsing one particular candidate over the other. That is what is going to happen if, for instance the former VP is granted a visa.

“We are not unaware – I think it is also in the public domain – that Atiku has engaged the service of some lobbyists in the US to facilitate the issuance of visa for him.

“Once again, I say it is his own right to do so, but we want these countries country to be neutral on the 2019 elections and they should please be wary of taking any decision that will give the wrong impression that they are favouring or endorsing any candidate over  the other.”

Atiku is believed to have gone to the US Embassy in Abuja on Monday for fingerprints as part of steps for the issuance of a visa to him.

It was learnt that he might get his visa within a week or two depending on whether or not he enjoys any concession.

A source said: “Atiku is almost completing his visa process. He was at the US Embassy on Monday for fingerprint vitals.

“I think it is too late in the day for this administration to stop issuance of visa to the former Vice President.”

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