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Don’t arrest Atiku, US, UN warn OBJ

Posted by By Tunji Thomas on 2007/01/09 | Views: 1048 |

Don’t arrest Atiku, US, UN warn OBJ


The world’s most powerful nation, the United States, has intervened in the on-going war between President Olusegun Obasanjo and Vice President Atiku Abubakar, warning President Obasanjo to desist from alleged plans to arrest Abubakar when he returns to Nigeria next week.

The world’s most powerful nation, the United States, has intervened in the on-going war between President Olusegun Obasanjo and Vice President Atiku Abubakar, warning President Obasanjo to desist from alleged plans to arrest Abubakar when he returns to Nigeria next week.

Speculations are rife in political circles that President Obasanjo is prepared to order the arrest of his vice when he returns to Nigeria, as scheduled. Presidential spokesman, Uba Sani, had, on behalf of the presidency, declared the vice president’s seat “vacant”, subsequent upon which Abubakar wrote the heads of the National Assembly and the judiciary. Only last week, in his attempt to clarify the position of the presidency which had been described by top lawyers as “unconstitutional”, another presidential spokesman, Akin Osuntokun, had reportedly claimed during an appearance on the NTA that the presidency did not declare the VP’s office vacant, but rather that the “vacancy” was occasioned by the VP’s defection from the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and his subsequent adoption as the presidential candidate of the Action Congress (AC). However, Osuntokun came out later to disclaim the statement insisting that he affirmed the VP’s office.

Sunday Tribune gat-hered from sources in Abuja and the United States that the warning was handed over to the president in “diplomatic language”. A senior official of the State Department was said to have expressed America’s displeasure with rising political tension in Nigeria, particularly in the context of the coming elections in 2007. The American official, according to our sources, told the Nigerian government that the US expects that the president will follow the due process and allow the rule of law to reign. In this context, it was “mentioned” that the US expects that since the constitutionally prescribed process of the impeachment of the vice president is yet to be followed, the US will expect that the VP will be treated “with due regard to his position and office” when he returns home.

The same sentiments were said to have been expressed by a ranking official of the United Nations to the Nigerian Mission to the UN and the presidency. However, when Sunday Tribune contacted the Public Affairs unit of the US Embassy in Lagos, the spokesperson, Mrs. Joke Omotunde, said that the Embassy has not made any statement as regards the feud between the president and his vice and does not wish to comment on the claim that Washington has expressed concern over the feud.

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