By Dirisu Yakubu
Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar has denied reports that he and some members of his family are under the United States of America watchlist, describing same as “recycled false allegations.”
Media reports surfaced on Monday to the effect that the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, FinCEN, an agency of the United States Department of Treasury, has flagged some transactions linked to the top politician as suspicious, in its surveillance of money movements within the international system.
Reacting to the media report, the 2019 Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in a statement signed by his media aide, Paul Ibe, said neither him nor any member of his family has breached any law, locally or internationally.
The statement reads: “My attention has been drawn to recycled and regurgitated lies about the person of Atiku Abubakar.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Atiku Abubakar is not under any US watch list, neither has he been charged, or will ever be charged by the United States Justice Department or any other in a foreign jurisdiction.
“It will be recalled that these recycled lies were re-unearthed just before the February 23, 2019 Presidential election, and to put paid to them, His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar, applied for and received a US visa, whereupon he embarked on a visit to the United States on January 17, 2019. He stayed at a hotel just miles to the United States Department of Justice.
“Atiku Abubakar in the course of that trip was also received in audience, by officials of the United States Government.
“These ‘new’ reports are a desperate gambit to recast these discredited accusations. They are meant to divert the attention of Nigerians from the recent statement by the Secretary of State of the United States, Mr Mike Pompeo, announcing visa and travel bans for certain unnamed but notorious individuals.
“Moreover, the timing of this report, less than 24 hours after the Edo state gubernatorial elections, should give some thought to thinking people.
“And considering the season that we are in, more of such jaundiced stories seeking to discredit Atiku Abubakar would come. However, it needs to be reiterated that the former Vice President and every member of his family keeps a clean business portfolio that has nothing to do with government resources and in conformity with local and foreign laws of respective countries.”