EXCLUSIVE: Why we won’t say whether Atiku is barred, wanted in America — U.S. Govt.

Atiku Abubakar
Atiku Abubakar

The United States government has said it would require the legal consent of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar before releasing information about his immigration status in the country.

The U.S. government was responding to a PREMIUM TIMES enquiry on whether Mr. Abubakar was wanted in, or barred from entering, the U.S.

“U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is prohibited by law from releasing such information without the written legal consent of the individual about whom you are asking these questions,” Julie, a Senior Public Information Officer at U.S. CBP said in an email response.

The agency declined to provide Julie’s surname, citing “security concerns”.

The former vice president’s U.S. immigration status was, once again, the subject of debate following a spat with Governor Nasir E-Rufai of Kaduna State last November.

Mr. El-Rufai had dared Mr. Abubakar to travel to the U.S., suggesting he was wanted for alleged corruption.

The governor was reacting to an interview Mr. Abubakar granted to Zero Tolerance magazine, published by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, where he accused Mr. El-Rufai of betrayal after bringing him into government.

According to the magazine, when asked about claims by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, that there is still a valid travel restriction on him to the U.S., Mr. Abubakar said he had been to the country on several occasions before the relocation of his family.

“The reason why I always visited the US was because of my wife,” Mr. Abubakar, who was vice president between 1999 and 2007, said. “She is no more in the US. So I don’t have compelling reason to visit the US now.”

But Mr. El-Rufai accused Mr. Abubakar of corruption saying the former vice president stayed away from the U.S. for fear of being arrested.

“Can Alhaji Atiku explain the findings in the report of the United States Permanent Sub-Committee on Investigations which detailed a pattern of wire transfers of more than USD 40 million from offshore companies like Siemens into bank accounts controlled by him and one of his wives,” the governor said in a statement he issued after Mr. Abubakar’s interview.

“The report detailing the US Senate findings is online, as one of four case histories of foreign corruption in the USA. Alhaji Atiku should tell a better tale of why he is avoiding the United States of America.

“Someone as obsessed with Nigeria’s presidency as he is, should clear up such matters conclusively. We wait to see how well he does with that.”

Last November, the U.S. Department of Justice told Nigeria’s The Punch newspaper that it did not have any record showing that Mr. Abubakar had a pending lawsuit in the U.S.

Asked whether Mr. Abubakar’s records should not be accessible to the Nigerian public since he had held – and is possibly planning to hold – public office, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection replied: “According to U.S. law, CBP cannot release such records without his (Mr. Abubakar’s) legal authorization.”

PREMIUM TIMES asked Paul Ibe, Mr. Abubakar’s spokesperson, if his principal would be willing to give his consent for the release of his immigration status as stated by the U.S. government agency, and he said he would refer the question to the former vice president.

Efforts to get a response from Mr. Ibe after two weeks were unsuccessful as he failed to answer his calls or reply messages.


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  • Spoken word

    how I wish Atiku will just take a trip to the U.S.

    • kinsly

      And be arrested? Na wa for you oooo. Don’t you like freedom?

      • Holy truth

        Y will he be arrested? What spoken was trying to say is dat Atiku should just shame el rufai & take a trip to d US, just like Aisha shamed foulyose.

        • Julius

          LOlz so true but, you also know that the mentally challenged Fayose and the biafraudians who are his supporters said that what you and I saw on tv and read in the local and british newspapers on her visit to the UK were not true.

          • Holy truth

            No mind dem let dem be wallowing in their foolishness.

          • Julius

            I know

      • Julius

        lmaoooooooooooo ! No, he wont. He likes freedom too..lolz, u dey craze !

    • Tunsj

      Are you going to pay for his ticket?

    • Arogbo

      I don’t think it’s advisable at this time because Donald Trump would not hesitate to get him arrested and detain at any of the U.S. point of entry. That itself would be a major breaking news all over the cable news network.

      • Spoken word

        That is why I want him to go.

  • Hajiya Tunsj Soyemi(mai fura)

    His sins are forgiven because he is a major pillar in our great party.
    A-fee-C! Changeee!!!!

    • tundemash

      You are a liar !

    • Julius

      So you haven’t seen or notice some changes yet I assume . Hope you are not blind, deaf and dumb

  • Man_Enough

    Silence is consent in this case. If he had no case he would have done exactly what Aisha Buhari did and shame the critics.

  • Opekete

    The craziest thing about public life is that it makes you loose your mind to the very public you are out to serve. The question is – how can you serve effectively if you don’t have a mind of your own? Notorious contradiction of expectations from a public servants.

  • sirOscie

    PUNCH
    We don’t have criminal case against Atiku – US
    Published November 20, 2016
    BAYO AKINLOYE
    The United States Department of Justice has denied having any record that indicates that Nigeria’s former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has a pending lawsuit in the US.
    In an email to our correspondent on Friday, a spokesperson for the US DOJ, Peter Carr said, “Thank you for reaching out to us. I have checked the public court records, and they do not show cases filed against a defendant named Atiku Abubakar.”
    This was stated as a response to SUNDAY PUNCH’s request for information on whether Abubakar is wanted in the US in connection with any issue of money laundering.
    The mail also asked the department to confirm whether Abubakar has been banned from entering the US and if there is any court case against him concerning the Halliburton scandal which resulted in the conviction of a US lawmaker, William Jefferson.
    Asked if it is true that the ex-vice president (now a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress) was banned from entering the US, the American official said the issue was confidential.
    He said, “Visa issues are confidential under section 222(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. If your question is specifically about entry – not about visas per se – I would refer you to the US Customs and Border Protection.”
    Last week, Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, had implied that Abubakar was avoiding a visit to the US because he might be charged with a case of money laundering.
    He reacted to Abubakar’s interview which he granted to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s quarterly publication, Zero Tolerance, where he had accused the Kaduna governor of corruption by offering him Transcorp’s shares.

  • Papa Ogihwriodo [Warri]

    MY CHILDREN,

    Una well done. God will bless you for the good works you are doing. There are too many thieves in Nigeria.
    You are helping the country to expose them one by one. This is very good. More grease to your own elbow.
    This thing you are writing today is very important. We need to know how many years Abubakar Atiku will spend
    in prison if his leg should touch America. When we know that we can now begin to ask whether he is guilty or not.
    The man is saying he has not done anything. That means he is ready to go to America tomorrow. Let us wait a bit.
    If he does not go tomorrow the advice i gave you as an elder will now help you people because you will then know
    why he is running away from America, but only after you know how many years imprisonment he can spend there.

  • Dr Pat Kolawole Awosan

    What we need now is a Trump who will eradicate state sponsored terrorism from Nigeria. It is unthinkable that after 1 year 8 months that Fulani Terrorist Herdsmen have killed no less than 2,978 Nigerians on their farms, beds and even at funerals of earlier victims, the evil Buhari government has not a SINGLE Fulani herdsman in court, arrested or detained. Not even a single name of any perpetrators has been made public. Sentiments aside, is Nigeria really a country???????

    • tundemash

      Mr. Village docor, Trump thinks you as a black is sub-human !

    • Julius

      You actually think Trump gives a hoot about you ? Keep dreaming and hope alive !

      • Tunsj

        You’re right, Julius. What Trump cares about is his pocket.

        • Julius

          Yep and his children !

  • Odianosen

    Henheehenhenhenheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee…Okpari! My people! U hear what I hear? I am hear that Bingo was truly dies. Top secret pls. Dont tell any1.

  • tundemash

    Thumbs up PremiumTimes. These are the kind of investigative journalism we expect from you. It is obvious Alhaji Atiku has a case in US else he would have given the consent IF the outcome would favour him.

    • AFRICANER

      Yeah? If the former vice president transfered over $40 million via his wife, how come he is not being prosecuted in Nigeria, with El Rufai as witness for the prosecutor?

      • Julius

        Good question but, you also know how we do things in Nigeria. By the way, that case was going on under Jonathan, so why didn’t the Jonathan admin prosecute Atiku then and call El Rufai as a witness for the prosecutor ?

        • AFRICANER

          Because Mr. Jonathan was a normal Nigerian president; a democrat; a minority president that was surrounded by Fundamental Islamists ready to kill him anytime for raising any dust, who never set out on a crusade like he should, to clean the augean stables. Unlike others who claim to be anti-corruption czars, Jonathan was a simple Nigerian: a little corrupt here, a little good there; abhor killing and violence; respect other religions; patriotic; chop, I chop mentality is Nigerian.

          • Julius

            “Jonathan was a simple Nigerian: a little corrupt here, a little good there; abhor killing and violence; respect other religions; patriotic; chop, I chop mentality is Nigeria”
            Really ? That’s a leader ? Yeah, sure !

          • AFRICANER

            That’s the best you can hope for given all his predecessors, and especially his successor. All virtues cannot be found in a single leader. Trim your expectations, you are not worthy of a saint.

          • Julius

            And here you are wailing though you have this view. Its sad.

      • tundemash

        Same reason Dumbo Jo is walking free; cl0wns like you would cry and wail witch-hunt !

        • Julius

          lolz.

        • Otile

          Must you drag Jonathan to every tirade of yours? Same reason Dullard or Daura cannot produce his WAEC. Sai babarian,

    • Tunsj

      Well put! Investigative Journalism is what Premium Times do best. No one comes close.

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  • Julius

    Nah, he wont agree to the release. My money is on that !

  • Rommel

    There are so many websites that do background checks on people in America for a fee,I have no reason to investigate Atiku yet which is why I have not done so but this would not cost Premium Times more than $50 to get the results required.

    • Ogpolo

      Rommel I beg I will bear the cost could you link me to such websites or companies as you claimed. Gods willing Atiku can never be the president of this country.

  • Nkem

    “Mr. Abubakar said he had been to the country on several occasions before the relocation of his family.”

    For God’s sake, Atiku should stop lying. Your wife, an American citizen, ran away from the US after she was found to be involved in money laundering and Siemens bribery scandal. You are saying “relocate”. Relocate to where? Because of what? Besides are you saying that before Jenifer went to live in the US or before you married her you were not going to the US?

    • Arogbo

      Good question my bro.

  • Case or no case, Atiku must never be allowed to be a Nigerian President. Nigeria must be free from these corrupt generation that sucked life of her existence.