Reno Omokri, ex-aide to former president Goodluck Jonathan, has debunked claims that Atiku Abubakar travelled to the United States using the diplomatic immunity of Aminu Tambuwal, governor of Sokoto.
Atiku, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), recently travelled to the US for meetings as well as political campaigns.
Rumours had swirled in some quarters that the politician travelled on the political immunity of Tambuwal, who is the director-general of the PDP presidential campaign.
But in a statement on Saturday, Omokri described the narrative as false.
The author claimed such rumours were concocted by an ally of Peter Obi, presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP).
“The idea that Waziri Atiku Abubakar used the diplomatic immunity of Governor Tambuwal to travel to America is just silly. Sadly, it was the number one trend on Twitter and Facebook yesterday (October 28, 2022), due to the paid activities of a certain political party,” he wrote.
“Nigerian Governors have no immunity outside Nigeria. Which is why a serving Governor Alamieyeseigha was arrested in London. Even serving American Governors do not have immunity in America, which is why a serving Governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, and a serving New York Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin, were arrested, charged, and in the case of Blagojevich, convicted.
“Even serving foreign heads of state, who break US and international law, can be arrested in the United States, which is why Manuel Noriega, a serving head of state of Panama, was arrested and tried in the US, where he served a prison sentence in Miami, Florida.
“So, how can you believe the lie that Waziri Atiku used Governor Tanbuwal’s immunity to travel to the United States?
“And the source of this lie, who is a known proxy of former Governor Peter Obi, based that immunity on the diplomatic passport held by Governor Tanbuwal? A cursory research would reveal that any former Vice President also holds a diplomatic passport in their own right.
“That being the case, why would Waziri Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice President of Nigeria, have to piggyback on Governor Aminu Tanbuwal’s diplomatic passport? It does not even make common sense.
“Moreover, an investigation by any journalist would reveal that Waziri Atiku Abubakar and Governor Tambuwal did not travel together. They arrived into the United States on separate dates, via separate airport terminals, and in separate airplanes.
“Additionally, even the fact of diplomatic immunity is not a defence in this particular instance (not that a defence is required, as both Waziri Atiku Abubakar and Governor Aminu Tanbuwal are persons of sterling character, who have broken no laws). By virtue of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, holders of diplomatic passports can be prosecuted and jailed for crimes committed outside the country they are accredited to.
“Finally, we have identified the source of this fake news and have passed on his details to US authorities. I will not say more than that at this time, as the matter is in their hands.”