The US chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has kicked against the visit of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar.
The party said the visit does not absolve Atiku of the purported corruption allegations against him and he should still be held accountable.
Atiku, who is the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), visited the US after 13 years, and for the first time since he left office as Nigeria’s vice-president.
In a statement issued by Adeshegun Labinjo, chairman, US chapter of APC, the party said even though it does not object to Atiku’s entry into the US, “the questionable character of the individual does not evaporate because he has stepped on the soil of America”.
“A thief remains a thief no matter where he or she visits. Obviously, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku has every reason to have kept off the USA given the cloak of corruption he is wearing,” the statement read.
“After a long spell of noticeable absence and factual concerns about Alhaji Abubakur Atiku’s antecedents in the USA arising from his dealings with former Congressman William Jefferson of Louisiana, who was convicted and served a jail term on account of bribery resulting from a telecommunication transaction in Nigeria, Atiku is now here again in the US.
“Congressional records point to the fact that Atiku engaged in money laundering through his wife who was then resident in the USA.
“We see Atiku, who is the 2019 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of Nigeria, as a self-centered corrupt Vice President under President Obasanjo’s regime.
“Certainly, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku‘s entry and presence in the USA is a mockery of President Bush Presidential Proclamation 7750 which affirms the denial of US visa to foreign officials involved with corruption and other supporting legislations by the congress. APC-USA believes that Alhajl Abubakar Atiku should be held accountable for his involvement m money laundering.”
Atiku is billed to meet with the US Chamber of Commerce on Friday.
The Nigerian Police Force has said that suspected Peoples Democratic Party, PDP thugs went on the rampage in Ilorin, Kwara stste on Sunday and disrupted a rally being held by the All Progressives Congress.
This was contrary to the impression created by Senate President Bukola Saraki on Friday that it was the APC members that were attacking his family home and supporters.
“As we speak, the situation report from Kwara State Police Command was that the APC holding a Governorship campaign rally at Agbaji in Ilorin came under a sudden attack by suspected PDP thugs, who disrupted the rally, damaged five vehicles and some Keke Napep and wounded two innocent people”, police spokesman Jimoh Moshood said.
“The family house of the Senate President was not attacked as being peddled in some social media”, Moshood added.
The APC governorship candidate, Abdulrahman Abdulrazak confirmed the attack on the party’s rally, but he gave a different location.
“Today’s attack on us during our rally in Ode Alfa Nda shouldn’t shake us rather we should see it as one of the last attempts of a drowning dynasty to stay alive by clutching at anything including violence. Their time is up, they just don’t know it yet”, Abdulrazak tweeted, along with photographs of some of the vehicles damaged during the attack.
The Nation reported that Abdulrazak was whisked away from the rally as thousands of supporters also scampered into safety, after shots were fired. Two persons were injured.
According to The Nation, there was also another attack on APC supporters in Ile Aiyelabegan, a household that is a short distance from the Agbaji homestead of the Senate President Bukola Saraki.
Police revisited Saraki’s allegation in light of Sunday’s disruption of APC rally by suspected PDP thugs.
Senator Saraki at a press conference in Abuja raised concern over his safety, his family and those of his political supporters in his state, Kwara.
He claimed that the police have continued to show hostility to him and his supporters in Kwara State as part of efforts to jeopardise and undermine his personal security and that of his immediate and larger family.
He cited three incidents to illustrate his fear about his security. One of them was the allegation that on Thursday, some supporters and thugs of the APC attacked PDP supporters at Adewole/Adeta, Ilorin, who were holding their weekly ward meetings.
He claimed that the same thugs went to his family quarters in Agbaji in Ilorin and vandalised houses, shops and inflicted machete wounds on three persons.
“All these destructions took place in the presence of policemen who came with them but watched without any care, as the APC thugs and supporters unleashed violence on our people.
But in a rebuttal, repeated Sunday, the police said all the allegations of the Senate President “are incorrect, misleading and false and should be disregarded and discountenanced by the general Public”.
Police even gave another instance why Saraki’s complaint should be disregarded.
“The media will recall that while Senator Dino Melaye was evading arrest by hiding inside his residence in Maitama, Abuja, the Senate President made a statement that the Nigeria Police Force did not send a letter of invitation to the Clerk of the National Assembly by the Police inviting Senator Dino Melaye to report to the Kogi State Police Command for investigation for offence of criminal conspiracy, attempted murder and culpable homicide, this statement by the Senate President on Senator Dino Melaye was however discovered serially and entirely untrue and false, as the Police Investigation Team provided an acknowledged copy of the said letter stamped received on the 24th July, 2018, by the Clerk of the National Assembly”.
Police reiterated that they did not give any protection to any political thug or shield any APC thug to go to the family quarters of the Senate President in Agbaji, Ilorin and vandalize houses, shops and inflict wounds with machete on three persons as claimed by the Senate President.
“The Police did not equally receive any complaint or report of gunshot and wounding as claimed by the Senate President in other areas he mentioned such as Adewole/Adeta, Ile-otan and ubandawaki/pakata in Ilorin, Kwara State”.
The Police further said that the senate president is fully protected as he enjoys the full panoply of security provided by them.
“It is pertinent to state that all Police personnel attached to the person of the Senate President, his office and family are intact and all the statutory security protection on the person of the Senate President are also accorded him all the time and there was no complaint whatsoever from the Senate President before now to the Police on this.
“The Force sees this unprovoked and unwarranted attack on person of Inspector General of Police by the Senate President as criminal defamation, hate speech and insulting. No doubt, the statement of the Senate President is evidently his characteristic mind set and pattern of misleading and misinforming the public to unjustifiably deride and castigate the leadership of public institutions such as the Nigeria Police Force.
“It is incumbent on the Force to set the record straight and correct the wrong impressions that must have been created in the minds of the general Public and the International Community from the misinformation and misleading account from the Senate President. The Inspector General of Police is not after the life of the Senate President and did not try any trick to implicate the Senate President in some criminal charges as alleged by the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki; the facts are in the public domain about the suspects of the Offa Bank Robbery now being prosecuted who implicated the Senate President on his involvement in the matter”.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) says the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is sympathetic to corruption.
The ruling party said this in reaction to a statement credited to the PDP.
The opposition party had said that the allegations against Walter Onnoghen, chief justice of Nigeria (CJN), is a move by the APC government to constitute “a constitutional crisis” and “instill fear in judicial officers” to do its bidding.
The CJN has been accused of false assets declaration.
But in a statement on Sunday, Lanre Issa-Onilu, APC spokesman, said the fight against corruption remains a cardinal promise made by his party to the electorate.
“Following reports of the move to prosecute Justice Walter Onnoghen, chief justice of the federation, over an alleged infraction on the Code of Conduct laws, the swift statement by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) condemning the purported move has again exposed the Party as one with a natural inclination to rise up in defence of cases of alleged corruption,” he said.
“Resort to baseless postulations anytime issues of corruption is leveled against public officers only confirm what Nigerians already know. PDP and corruption are siamese twins that are difficult to separate from each other.
“One would have thought that the PDP will call for impartial investigations when corruption cases are levelled against public officers, but spinning falsehoods and conspiracies remains the opposition party’s favourite past time.
“The APC administration will not hesitate to investigate and prosecute any public officer if and when such is indicted for corruption.
“Achieving acceptable elections in all democratic climes is a collective effort which require the contributions and support of all well-meaning Nigerians, political parties, institutions and sundry interests.
“Commendably, in successive elections conducted under the APC administration, the party has played by the rules, which has led to credible elections. This cannot be said of the PDP era when state institutions were deployed to manipulate the electoral process.”
Issa-Onilu said the APC is committed to ensuring that the forthcoming elections go on record as one of the freest, most credible and peaceful elections in the country.