The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, has warned the United States of America, USA, against granting a visa to the Peoles Democratic Party, PDP, Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar, in order not to create the impression of endorsing him for the 2019 elections.
Lai Mohammed, gave the government’s position at an interactive session with Media Executives, in Abuja, on Thursday.
The Minister, said that the government was aware of the move by Atiku to lobby the USA to lift the visa ban imposed on him.
He stated that while the USA has the prerogative of whom to issue visa, it should be mindful of the timing, in order not to give the impression that Atiku has been endorsed by the USA government.
“We understand and appreciate the fact that it is the prerogative of the US to grant a visa to anyone who applies.
“However, we want the US to be neutral and be wary of taking any decision that will give the impression that they are favouring or endorsing one Candidate over the other
“Impression must not be created that the US government is endorsing one particular Candidate over the other’’, he said.
The Minister, recalled that for years, there has been a kind of congressional bi-partisan investigation of corruption against certain individuals which had made it difficult for Atiku Abubakar to secure a USA visa.
“I am sure you will all recall the Jefferson’s case and the cold 90,000 U.S. dollar in fridge.
“We are not unaware that Atiku has engaged the services of some lobbyists to persuade the US to issue (a) visa to him.
“Our position is that if the former Vice President is seeking the US visa, we have no problem about it.
“However, we want the US government not to create the impression that it is endorsing one Candidate over the other’’, he said.