The Presidency has declared former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as a liar over his claim that President Muhammadu Buhari was once barred from entering the United States of America over his religious views.
The former vice president was quoted to have said this while reacting to questions on why he was denied visa by the US. Dele Momodu had thrown the question at him during an interview as part of his weekly column titled, ‘Pendulum’, published in The Boss Magazine.
“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.
“They’ve only said my application is going through an 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 accorded a 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…”
In its response to the alleged claim by Atiku, the Presidency 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. 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.
“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 reaction of the Presidency was contained in a statement the president’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, released Saturday night.