The Federal Government of Nigeria has said that the candidate of the opposition PDP in the 2019 election, Atiku Abubakar, has questions to answer when he returns from his current trip to the United States.
The government said it is investigating Mr Abubakar’s alleged role in the collapse of former Bank PHB.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said this while briefing State House correspondents on Friday.
Mr Mohammed said the decision to question Mr Abubakar is “following fresh evidence that he benefitted from slush funds that led to the collapse of Bank PHB.”
The government spokesperson said the government has in its position “paper trail which shows that he benefitted from N156 million.”
“It started from an internal memo dated 13 January 2009 asking that a draft in favour of Atiku Abubakar of 156 million should be raised,” he said.
Mr Mohammed also said another memo on the same date was raised to confirm that the amount was raised from a “claimant management account.”
He said the government has proof of the account mandate, cheque and account statement showing Mr Abubakar as the signatory to the account that received the money.
“We want him to stay in the US for as long as he wants but he has to explain to Nigerians when he returns,” he said.
Speaking further on the visit of the former vice president to the U.S., the minister said the government had earlier issued a statement advising the U.S. not to issue him a visa.
He, however, said it remains the prerogative of the U.S. government to issue visa to anyone.
“We are not perturbed one bit. He can go ahead and get a U.S. green card. That will not save him from imminent defeat in the forthcoming election,” Mr Mohammed said.
He also said the “election will be held here not in the U.S.”
The minister, however, said his claim does not imply that the former vice president will be arrested on his return.