The Presidency has described as fiction, a claim by former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, that President Muhammadu Buhari was banned from entering the United States of America for 15 years on account of religious considerations.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, in a statement was reacting to Atiku’s interview published yesterday in a national daily.
The former vice president, while responding to a question on his inability to visit the United States for many years due to allegations that border on sharp practices, was quoted to have said that Buhari before becoming the president could not enter America on account of religious considerations for about 15 years.
The ex-VP was also quoted as saying : “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,” he said, adding that he would be granted access just as it was done to Buhari after becoming the president.
According to the statement from the Presidency, “This fictive concoction being passed off as truth is mindboggling, coming from a former Number Two man of Nigeria, who should know the truth.
“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. The same testimony is still borne of the Nigerian president by many world leaders today.”
The Presidency described as curious that rather than answer the question directly on why he has not visited the US for the past 10 years, the former VP chose to beg the question and say things that only exist in his imagination.
“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,” the statement read.
Also reacting to the ex-VP’s attack on the President, a group, the Buhari Media Support Group described Atiku’s claims as baseless and unfounded.
In a statement by the chairman of the group, Austin Braimoh, the group said it was shocked by Atiku’s curious and spurious allegations, explaining 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.
According to the BMSG, “the former vice president appears to have his facts or information mixed up somewhere,” and that “he must be confusing someone else with Buhari.”
The group said Buhari had enjoyed and continues to enjoy enormous international goodwill, explaining that he had no reason being in the United States after he finished from the War College. Since then, it was in 2016 that he was invited to deliver a lecture at the Woodrow Wilson Center in the United States. He was also at the Chatam House in London,” it added.
According to the statement, Buhari couldn’t have visited a country where he was officially banned because of any so-called extreme religious views. It advised Atiku to publish such record if he had any.