Contrary to reports that the United States has granted visa to the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, after 13 years ban, news INDEPENDENT authoritatively reports that he was never given visa.
An embassy source told the news agency that U.S. position on Atiku has not changed.
A family source confirmed to news agency that Atiku only traveled to the UK and is also back in the country.
The family source said Atiku did not even apply for visa from the U.S. embassy as reported in the week.
The Federal Government fearing that the U.S. wanted to grant Atiku visa had cautioned that it would mean endorsing him for the 2019 election.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, gave the government position at an interactive session with media executives in Abuja on Thursday.
Mohammed had said that the government was aware of the move by the former Vice President to lobby the U.S. to lift the visa ban imposed on him.
He said, while the U.S. has the prerogative of whom to issue visa, it should be mindful of the timing, in order not to give the impression that Atiku has been endorsed by the U.S. government.
“We understand and appreciate the fact that it is the prerogative of the U.S. to grant a visa to anyone who applies.
Atiku who was reported to have been granted a US visa to travel to the United States was in London on Thursday prior to his departure to the United States.
A group, Initiative To Save Democracy said that it has credible information that the PDP presidential candidate returned to Nigeria after failing to secure assurances from the US Department of Justice that he will not be arrested if he sets his foot on the soil of the United States.
TheCable had reported exclusively that the Waziri Adamawa secured a US visa and had travelled to the United Kingdom from where he will fly into the United states where he had not been able to step foot for more than 13 years.
But the group in a statement signed by its president, Akinloye James said Atiku had on Thursday travelled to the United Kingdom after securing a United States Visa from where he hopes to travel to the United States.
“His mission in the United Kingdom is to get the British Government to help him secure the assurances of the United States Department of Justice that he will not be arrested upon setting foot in US soil. But the British government is reported to have informed Abubakar that the US Department of Justice has made it clear that it cannot guarantee he will not be arrested.”
Atiku has refused to travel to the United States since the case of money laundering allegation involving him and a US congressman, Williams Jefferson came to limelight. His counterpart in the United States, Williams Jefferson has already served jail term and made to refund part of the money traced to him for money laundering, but Atiku has since been walking free even though he has been unable to set foot in the US.
Having failed to secure the assurances of the British government and fearing that he may be arrested by the International Police (InterPol), Atiku quickly returned to Nigeria to forestall any possible arrest.
Paul Ibe, Head of the Atiku Media Office who has been speaking on behalf of the PDP presidential candidate prior to appointing a spokesman for his campaign tweeted a while ago that Atiku has since returned to Abuja.
“HE@atiku embarked on a private visit to the United Kingdom on Thursday shortly after the inauguration of his Presidential Campaign Council. He has since returned back to Abuja. #LetsGetNigeriaWorkingAgain” Ibe tweeted
His tweet counters report by TheCable that Atiku will spend sometime in the United Kingdom before traveling to the United States.
“Report that Atiku obtained US Visa and travelled to the UK may be true, but the part that he would be traveling to the US is completely false,” Mr James said.