- Governor Nasir El-Rufai says he does not see anything extra-ordinary in Atiku Abubakar's trip to the United States
- El-Rufai explains that Atiku could not have been arrested in the US since he is a candidate in the presidential election
- The governor says trip would make better sense if he goes to the country after the election and if he does not win
The governor of Kaduna state, Nasir El-Rufai, has said it is the prerogative of the United States to allow Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 16 election, enter the country.
El-Rufai, who said he saw nothing too extra-ordinary about Atiku’s visit to the US, however, added that the country cannot arrest the former vice president for any reason since he is currently a candidate ahead of Nigeria’s election.
According to the governor, Atiku’s trip would only make meaning if he still travels to the country after the election and in the event that he does not win.
In an interview with Premium Times, El-Rufai said: “El-Rufai: Look it is a prerogative of a country to grant a person visa or not to grant him visa, I didn’t think that was an issue at all.
“No matter what the background is, even if the US were unwilling to grant Atiku visa or whatever, and I don’t think they are unwilling. I think they wanted him in the country, he just never applied all these years.
“The moment he became the candidate of a major political party, he would go to America and come out. Even if they have charges against him, they will seal the charges because if they arrest him they are interfering in the outcome of an election.
“So long as he is the presidential candidate, he has partial immunity. So, even if there some issues in the US, they will not activate those issues now because they will not want to be accused of so openly, of taking out a presidential candidate of a major political party.
“I don’t know why all the ecstasy about Atiku visa and so on and so forth. The test of whether Atiku can go to the US or not would be after the election, when he loses, when there are no issues about his candidature.
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“Then he can visit the US and we will know for sure, the thinking of the department of justice with regards Atiku. But for now it’s neither here nor there.
“But as I said, it is the prerogative of a country to grant visa or not to grant visa but I don’t think it is a matter that the Nigerian government or anyone can be getting involved in, frankly.”
Legit.ng earlier reported that a private meeting with Alhaji Atiku Abubakar was confirmed by the United States chamber of commerce during his visit to the country..
The development was confirmed in a mail sent to The Cable by the senior manager, media and external communications, US Chamber of Commerce, Katherine Cooksey.
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