Former Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has given explanations over his alleged avoidance of the United States over a purported corruption case for which he was said to be wanted.
Atiku denied that he was avoiding US any travel ban on him. He also faulted the widely held notion about him as a corrupt person, saying if he was corrupt, he would have been convicted by now.
In an interview published in the latest edition of Zero Tolerance Magazine, a publication of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Atiku said he “no longer has compelling reasons” to travel to US, as his family, who used to live there, had relocated.
“There is no travel restriction on me to the United States. After leaving office, I have been to the US severally to visit my family, which has eventually relocated,” he said.
Atiku, however, did not answer the question on when last he visited the US, insisting that the reason for his US travels were his wife.
The former vice president also denied having any relationship with William Jefferson, the ex-US congressman accused of being his linkman in the US bribery scandal.
In one of the editions of the magazine in September 2013, Atiku’s ex-boss, former President Olusegun Obasanjo had dared the ex-VP to travel to US, alleging that Atiku was a fugitive who cannot travel to US.
Atiku maintained that despite panels and court actions against him, he was yet to be found guilty of any financial infringement.
“If Atiku Abubakar was corrupt, he would have been found guilty of corruption by all the panels and probes and cases that were brought before the courts. I remember the only corruption indictment against me was a white paper which was cooked up by our own administration overnight including the very EFCC that I helped found, and other cabinet ministers, which I challenged in court.”