The United States has not granted the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Abubakar Atiku visa, contrary to the wide reports that was being circulated in various news media, Daily Independent reports.
A source in the embassy revealed that U.S. position on Atiku has not changed and a family source confirmed that Atiku only travelled to the UK and is also back in the country.
The family source said Atiku did not even apply for visa from the U.S. embassy as reported in the week.
The Federal Government fearing that the U.S. wanted to grant Atiku visa had cautioned that it would mean endorsing him for the 2019 election.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, gave the government position at an interactive session with media executives in Abuja on Thursday.
Mohammed had said that the government was aware of the move by the former Vice President to lobby the U.S. to lift the visa ban imposed on him.
He said, while the U.S. 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 U.S. government.
“We understand and appreciate the fact that it is the prerogative of the U.S. to grant a visa to anyone who applies.
“However, we want the U.S. 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 U.S. government is endorsing one particular candidate over the other,’’ he had said.
The minister recalled that for years, there has been a kind of congressional bi-partisan investigation on corruption against certain individuals which had made it difficult for Atiku to secure a U.S. visa.
“I am sure you will all recall Jefferson’s case and the cold 90,000 U.S. dollar in a fridge.
“We are not unaware that Atiku has engaged the services of some lobbyists to persuade the U.S. to issue visa to him.
“Our position is that if the former Vice President is seeking the U.S. visa we have no problem about it.
“However, we want the U.S. government not to create the impression that it is endorsing one candidate over the other,’’ he said