Bayo Onanuga, Director of Media and Publicity for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), has questioned why Nigerian media is interested in promoting what is clearly fake news.
The involvement of the APC’s Presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in drug dealings and money laundering in the United States of America has been widely reported in the media.
The report was said to be based on a document purportedly released by the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, which indicted Tinubu in drug dealings and money laundering in Chicago.
The documents, which went viral yesterday evening, November 8, detailed Tinubu’s alleged indictment in drug dealing and receiving illegal money while in the United States.
The 56-page document sought to confirm Tinubu’s conviction on narcotics charges in the United States, particularly in light of the fact that he forfeited up to $460,000 to U.S. authorities in 1993.
Onanuga called the documents in circulation a “campaign of calumny,” adding, “The Muckrakers are back in business.”
Onanuga posted on his Facebook page, “The Muckrakers are back in business.”
“On Tuesday (November 8), Tinubu traducers resumed their usual campaign of slander, this time resurrecting the carcass of a drug allegation in America that was buried in 1993.”
“Long after the campaign failed in 2003, it reappeared just weeks before the All Progressives Congress primary election.” The opponents believed it was lethal enough to disqualify Tinubu from the race. It was a spectacular failure, and Tinubu went on to win the primary by a landslide. The muckrakers are back with the same story, this time disguised as a ‘certified true copy’ from the United States Court.”
The APC campaign’s media and publicity director said he read the new document and dismissed it as “old news.”
“It’s as extinct as a dodo,” Onanuga said, referring to a section of the campaign’s FAQ manual.
“One of the heinous and wicked lies peddled by political opponents about Bola Ahmed Tinubu was that he was a drug baron.”
The accusation stemmed from an investigation of Tinubu and Compass Investment and Finance accounts at First Heritage Bank and Citibank in the United States by FBI agent Kevin Moss.
“On January 10, 1992, Mr Kevin Moss sought and was granted a court order freezing the accounts.” Mr Moss called Tinubu in Nigeria on January 13, 1992, to justify the $1.4 million in the accounts. Part of the funds were allegedly deposited by two Nigerians being investigated for drug offenses. Following the phone call, Tinubu instructed his lawyer in the United States to file a lawsuit against the order freezing his accounts.
“This dragged on until 15 September 1993, when an agreement for an out-of-court settlement was reached.” The agreement reached by the two parties was read aloud by Judge John A Nordberg of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The government confiscated $460,000 of the funds. Tinubu was never charged with a drug offense, and the case was never tried. Tinubu was never found guilty. And he was never denied entry into the United States.
“Ten years later, when PDP opponents sought to use the closed allegation to disqualify Tinubu from running for a second term in Lagos, the Inspector General of Police, Tafa Balogun, inquired with the American Consulate about Tinubu’s status.” Tinubu received a clean bill of health from the Consulate in a response from the Legal Attache, Michael H. Bonner. “Our heartfelt greetings to you and all law enforcement personnel in the Nigeria Police Force, whose continued assistance is greatly appreciated,” the letter said. In response to your letter dated February 3, 2003, with reference number SR. 3000/IGPSEC/ABJ/VOL. 24/287, a records check of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) National Crime Information Centre (NCIC) was performed.
“The results of the checks were negative for any criminal arrest records, wants, or warrants for Bola Ahmed Tinubu (DOB 29 March 1952).” “For your department’s information, NCIC is a very centralised information centre that maintains records of every criminal arrest and conviction within the United States and its territories.”
Onanuga stated that nearly thirty years after the allegation was dropped and the case was declared dead, Tinubu’s opponents continue to resurrect it in futile attempts to discredit him.