Mr. Abubakar, said this while responding to questions from Dele Momodu, publisher of BOSS Newspaper.
The exchange: “I followed with a bazooka and asked him “how come you are running away from the United States of America? What offence have you committed to warrant not being able to visit, since all this time?” Atiku fired back at me: “It is the sole prerogative of America to determine who they want in their country or not. I’m not running away from America. I applied, but wasn’t issued a visa. However, they did not decline me categorically either. They’ve only said my application is going through administrative process. This is not peculiar to me. For about 15 years, Buhari could not enter America on account of religious considerations. The current Indian Prime Minister, Modi, suffered the same fate for years. Today, he is being treated to red carpet treatment in America.. I fly to different parts of the world, including Europe, if America wanted me, it would be so easy for them to reach out to their allies…”
Buhari Never Banned From US
However, in a swift response, Nigeria Presidency has refuted by Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar assertion
Femi Adesina,Special Adviser to the President, said this fictive concoction being passed off as truth is mind boggling, coming from a former Number Two man of Nigeria, who should know the truth.
He pointed out that at no time was President Buhari, as a private person, ever forbidden from entering any country in the world. Rather, the rest of the world has always held Muhammadu Buhari as a man of sterling qualities, strong on integrity, transparency and accountability.
Adesina stressed that the same testimony is still borne of the Nigerian President by many world leaders today.
He noted that it is curious that former VP Abubakar had been asked why he had not visited America for over a decade, something that had been a stubborn fact dogging his footsteps. Instead of answering directly, he begged the question, saying Buhari also had been disallowed from entering the same country for 15 years, before becoming President
“We hereby make it resoundingly clear that what the former Vice President said only exists in the realm of his imagination. If he has issues to settle with American authorities, he should do so, rather than clutch at a straw.” Adesina added.
Pro-Buhari group faults Atiku’s claim on President
Smilarly, the Buhari Media Support Group on Saturday dismissed a statement by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar that President Muhammadu Buhari was banned from entering the United States of America because of his purported extremist religious views as “baseless and unfounded allegation.”
The statement which was signed by the group’s chairman, Austin Braimoh, was made available to journalists in Abuja.
The group said it was shocked by Atiku’s “curious and spurious allegations”, saying that there was no time Buhari was ever banned from entering the US or any Western country because of any alleged or perceived extreme religious views.
“The former Vice President appears to have his facts or information mixed up somewhere. He must be confusing someone else with Buhari,” the group said.
It added that Buhari has enjoyed and continues to enjoy enormous international goodwill, explaining that he had no reason being in the United Staes after he finished from the War College.
It said since then, it was on 2016 that Buhari was invited to deliver a lecture at the Woodrow Wilson Centre in the United States while he was also at the Chatam House in London.
According to the statement, Buhari couldn’t have visited a country where he was officially banned because of any so-called extreme religious views.
The group urged Atiku to publish such record if he has any.
The BMSG advised the former Vice President to play fair politics and avoid dragging the President’s name in the mud for political advantage.
It said political leaders should lead by example by living by truthfulness and avoid spreading unfair and unfounded rumours against perceived opponents.
The BMSG explained that Buhari bears no ill will towards Atiku in the pursuit of his ambition, but requested the former Vice President to reciprocate that gesture by stopping the spread disinformation against the President.