Atiku US visa request: Over 200 NGOs storm US embassy in Abuja
A coalition of over 200 groups under the aegis of the Forum of Non Government Organisations (FONGON), on Wednesday, stormed the United State of America (USA) Embassy in Nigeria to protest a purported granting of entry visa to former Vice-President and Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Abubakar Atiku in the forthcoming 2019 presidential election by US government.
The groups stormed the embassy with various placards which read thus: “Money laundering is the highest level of financial crime, America, say no to Atiku Visa request; Nigerians say no to America’s interference in the nation’s politics; We got a letter from America listing people to be investigated for financial crime, Atiku was one of them; USA, please stay clear of Nigeria’s internal politics; No to issuance of politically motivated Visa to Atiku; as well as Donald Trump, don’t Trump for Atiku, say no to Visa request and USA, why now after 14 years of denial due to criminal money laundering?”
The National Chairman and Convener of the coalition, Comrade Wole Badmus, who addressed newsmen, urged the US government not to grant PDP presidential candidate a visa request because of his proven cases of corruption, especially when 2019 general elections are fast approaching.
According to him, it was with the highest level of discontent that we received an update of purported granting of an entry visa to former vice president Abubakar Atiku to the United State of America last Friday. We were jolted that America is the bastion of democracy, rule of law and transparency in public administration can be debauched into the abyss of being used by discredited and renowned financial criminals in our country.
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“However, our melancholic state transmuted into that of ecstasy upon establishing that such info was just a hoax and an attempt to test the water of public opinion in the eventuality of such request being undeservedly granted.
“Corruption in the developing world is also responsible for distorting markets, deterring investment, deepening poverty, undermining international aid efforts and fostering crime. Some have drawn connections between corruption, failed states and terrorism. Corruption also continues to be a massive problem. The World Bank has estimated that $1 trillion in bribes alone exchange hands worldwide.
“It is for the above that we advice that your embassy decline visa to Alhaji Abubakar Atiku. Granting his visa request will amount to negation of the Patriot Act which makes the acceptance of foreign corruption precedes US money laundering offence. It also makes a mockery of the United Nations Convention against corruption enacted in 2003 in which the USA played an active role in its enactment and presently ratified by over 140 countries.
“It is also against the spirit of the investigative group dedicated to combating foreign corruption by Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) formed in 2003 by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Finally, granting such request makes a mess of President Bush Presidential Proclamation 7750 denying US visas to foreign officials involved with corruption and other supporting legislation by the Congress,” He stated.
Comrade Badmus also appealed to the American government to be steadfast and ensure that the 2019 general elections in Nigeria are transparent.