Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, through his media adviser, Garba Shehu has faulted corruption charges by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in an EFCC magazine “Zero Tolerance” that the former Vice President risked jail if he travels to the United States.
“The former President is wrong. It is widely known that Atiku didn’t enter government broke. He declared his assets at the commencement of his Vice Presidency and did so at the end of his term as required by the constitution, which is a sacred document to Atiku,” Garba Shehu said in a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday.
According to him, “Atiku, who is currently returning from China after leading a private economic trade mission at the invitation of the Chinese government, travels often and has a well-documented record of building industries and putting thousands of Nigerians to work. And this record, quite frankly, has been thoroughly investigated.”
While reiterating that Atiku has no case against him by any arm of the law in any country in the world, including the United States, Shehu observed that ”President Obasanjo’s repeated ‘jokes’ about Turaki not being able to go to America have become cliché, tiresome and not true.”
The Media Adviser recalled that in 2006, former President Obasanjo sent his National Security Adviser (NSA) to stop Atiku from travelling to the US, saying that the Vice President risked arrest on arrival. He said that Turaki spurned that advice, left Nigeria to land at the Andrews Air Force Base, the official airport of the US government, to receive the best reception ever on a visit to America.
“So, we are used to those taunts,” he said.
He noted that when the former Vice President left office shortly before late Musa Yar’Adua was inaugurated as President, Atiku spent three month in the US, adding that if they (US authorities) wanted him for anything, they would have met him.
“It is time to start dealing in facts. Specifically, the fact that Atiku’s visa to visit the United States has been recently renewed.
“Another fact is Atiku is one of the most investigated politicians in Nigerian history. And every investigation, whether politically motivated here at home or by the FBI abroad, has yielded the same result every time: not guilty.
“If Atiku is guilty of anything, it is crushing persistent attempts at re-writing our constitution.
Mrs Waziri in a statement she personally signed refuted knowing the convicted former Governor of Delta State Ibori, adding that she was offered the chairmanship of the anti-graft agency through merit.
According to her, “The truth is that I never met Ibori in my life until after months in office as chairman of the EFCC when I used to see him in the presidential villa. It is on record today that I initiated the investigation that drove Ibori into the waiting hands of Interpol and the UK Metropolitan Police.
“The late President Yar’Adua did not have to alter the establishment Act when he was appointing me unlike what Obasanjo did. Again, for the record, I served in the Nigeria Police Force for 35 years and got to the pinnacle of my career before my appointment as EFCC chairperson.”