A mammoth crowd of protesters turned out in front of the US Embassy Wednesday, in Abuja asking the United States government not to grant American Visa to Atiku Abubakar , Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The protesters under the aegis of Forum of Non – Governmental Organisations In Nigeria , besieged the Embassy as early as 9:30am calling on the Embassy officials not to accede to the request of the former Vice President.
A source in the crowded gathering however hinted that the protest was sponsored by chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) ( name withheld).
The protesters said that granting American Visa to Atiku would negate the Patriot Act which makes acceptance of foreign corruption proceeds an offense before the U.S money laundering law.
Addressing the placards carrying protesters the Convener and National Chairman, Comrade Wole Badmus said that the group has formally written and advised the United States embassy against granting the visa request by the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar adding that doing so would amount to endorsing him for the 2019 general elections.
” This is apart from the tacit and covert electoral gain such can confer him as the general correct perception in our country now is that an Atiku is being denied American Visa because of proven cases of money laundering and financial crimes against him.
“Sir, you may recall the outcome of the U.S Senate permanent sub- committee on investigations , Chaired by Carl Levin . The committee submitted its report on 4 February 2010 . It is equally interesting to note that the probe was motivated by U.S government concern about corruption in the Third World and its corrosive effects on the development of honest government, democratic principles and the rule of law ” Badmus stated.
He stressed that corruption is responsible for distorting market, deterring investment, deepening poverty and undermining international aid efforts. He also urged the United States not to interfere with the internal politics of the country.
Badmus explained that there is a nexus between corruption and failed state stating that World Bank has estimated that $1trillion in bribes alone exchange hands worldwide each year.
According to him ” A summary of the report indicates that between 2000 and 2008 , Jennifer Douglas a U.S citizen and the fourth wife of Atiku Abubakar, helped her husband bring over $40million in suspect funds into the United States through wire transfers sent by offshore corporation to U.S bank account.
In a 2008 civil complaint , the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission alleged that Ms. Douglas received over $2million in bribe payments in 2001 and 2002 from Siemens AG , a major German Corporation ”
He added that Ms. Douglas owned up when the banks began to question the offshore wire transfers that all the funds came from ( Atiku Abubakar ).
He further explained that granting American Visa to Atiku would amount to negation of the Patriot Act which makes the acceptance of foreign corruption proceeds a U.S money laundering offense.
Badmus added that acting contrary to the request would make a mockery of United Nations Convention against Corruption enacted in 2003 in which USA played an active role in its enactment and presently ratified by over 140 countries.