UPDATED: I did not travel to the US – Atiku denies claims

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The Peoples Democratic Party‘s presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar has denied a report that he had travelled to the United States of America. A report in The Cable had claimed that presidential candidate of the main opposition had reportedly been granted a United States visa. However, in a reaction, Atiku media aide Paul Ibe who spoke to Leadership denied reports he had travelled to the US but added the politician had gone on a private visit to the United Kingdom.

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He said Atiku is back and preparing for his campaign which starts on Monday December 3 in Sokoto state. According to an earlier report which appeared in The Cable on Saturday, December 1, Atiku was said to have recently got the visa and is expected to travel to the United States of America. The report which quoted a family source had confirmed the acquisition of the visa but said he has yet to travel to the US.

Atiku was reported to have left for the United Kingdom where he reportedly would be for some time before his purported US visit. While the report of US visit was denied by Paul Ibe, he did corroborate the UK visit but added it was a private visit. He further confirmed that Atiku was since back to the country for his campaign in Sokoto state. Former president Olusegun Obasanjo and Atiku’s one-time boss was alleged to have played a big role in getting the US to grant Atiku the said visa. While the reports of Atiku’s UK-US travel is still the subject of controversy, secrecy and intrigues, We could not immediately independently verify the authenticity of the report until the latest denial.

However, the report comes just days after the federal government of Nigeria told the US to be cautious in granting visa to Atiku Abubakar, in order not to create the impression of endorsing him for the 2019 election. The minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, had given the government’s position at an interactive session with media executives in Abuja on Thursday, November 29. Mohammed said that the government was aware of the move by the former vice president to lobby the US to lift the visa ban imposed on him. Atiku’s camp had been confident of him getting the visa.

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