Don't give Visa to Atiku now, it will give Nigerians a wrong impression-FG tells US

The Federal Government has pleaded with United States (US) Government not to do anything that will give the impression it is endorsing Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

It has therefore urged the US government to be wary of giving the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate its visa at this period.

The US is alleged to have placed a travel ban on Atiku. But Atiku and his supporters had claimed that the PDP candidate has nothing to hinder him from traveling to US if he choses to.

But speaking at an interactive session with media executives in Abuja on Thursday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said there was a move by the former Vice President to lobby the U.S. to lift the visa ban imposed on him.

Noting that the US has the prerogative of whom to issue visa, he however said US should be mindful of the timing, in order not to give the impression that Atiku has been endorsed by its government.

He said, “We understand and appreciate the fact that it is the prerogative of the U.S. to grant a visa to anyone who applies.

“However, we want the U.S. to be neutral and be wary of taking any decision that will give the impression that they are favouring or endorsing one candidate over the other.

“Impression must not be created that the U.S. government is endorsing one particular candidate over the other.’’

According to Mohammed, for years, there has been a kind of congressional bi-partisan investigation on corruption against certain individuals which had made it difficult for Atiku to secure a U.S. visa.

“I am sure you will all recall the Jefferson’s case and the cold 90,000 U.S. dollar in fridge.

“We are not unaware that Atiku has engaged the services of some lobbyists to persuade the U.S. to issue visa to him.

“Our position is that if the former Vice President is seeking the U.S. visa we have no problem about it.

“However, we want the U.S. government not to create the impression that it is endorsing one candidate over the other,’’ he said.

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