A coalition of the US chapter of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), US Nigeria Law Group (USNLG), Africa United for Peace and select Nigerian lawyers and activists based in the USA has petitioned that country’s government, urging it to boycott the May 29, 2023 inauguration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as Nigeria’s new President. The coalition rather advised the US Government to sanction Tinubu for alleged money laundering, election crimes and human rights abuses.
The petition, dated May 23, 2023 and addressed to US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, was signed by E. Ogebe Esq. (US Nigeria Law Group); Lloyd Ukwu Esq. (NADECO USA); Ayo Ajayi (former NADECO UK); G. Ugo Esq. (Maryland USA); N. Uzo Esq. (Maryland USA); E. Ihim Esq. (Texas USA); E. Emenyonu Ph.D, LL.B (Africa United for Peace); and Dr Olangunju Esq. (Maryland USA).
The activists in the letter commended the USA’s recent announcement of further sanctions on individuals who undermined democracy in Nigeria.
“However, we ask that you publish the names of the individuals affected.
“This is for two critical reasons.
“Firstly, the deterrent effect is dubious if the nefarious actors are not aware of the sanctions imposed on them. It is thus helpful for them and the public to know for the furtherance of justice.
“Secondly, the list should be made public so that those who are unjustly sanctioned have an option for redress and those who were unjustly not blacklisted can be sanctioned,” the activists said.
They said that, rather than being patronised, “Tinubu who in particular should be a subject of the aforesaid sanctions for the following reasons:
“He was recorded on video declaring in London months ago,
“ “Political power is not to be served in a restaurant, it’s not served in a la carte, it’s what we are doing.
“It’s being determined to do it, at all costs. Fight for it, grab it, snatch it and run with it.”
“This London Declaration was graphically and murderously played out weeks later in Nigeria and especially in Lagos, Mr Tinubu’s stronghold, where voters were ethnically profiled beaten and even killed as attested to by international observers.
“Besides, your own US consulate in Lagos reportedly had to provide trauma counseling to staff who were subjected to brutalization, exclusion and discrimination during the successive elections in Lagos – making a mockery of your administration’s reference to Gen. Buhari as a “champion of democracy.”
“Within the past seven months, the US embassy evacuated from Nigeria because of a failed terror bombing in Abuja; US consulate staff were treated for political violence and discrimination in Lagos and an embassy convoy was ambushed in the east. Over 100 people were slaughtered in Benue state last month and another 100 in Plateau state this month. “Things are obviously not well in Nigeria worthy of any commendation whatsoever as the embassy itself has seen and experienced.
“Indeed, Observers have noted that these elections have been more violent and deadly than that of 2019. Nigeria is headed in the wrong direction developmentally and democratically totally underserving of any accolades.
“Tragically, more people were killed in Nigeria’s 2023 elections than in Gen. Buhari’s military coup 40 years!
“In addition to his drug-money laundering case in the US 30 years ago, recent revelations show a pattern of continuing money laundering via Senator Tinubu’s children with two multimillion dollar properties in New York and and an $11 million property in UK.
“Ironically, the London mansion was a property being forfeited by the Nigerian government as corruptly acquired by a former official only for it to be reacquired by another. In other words, corruption simply changed hands from PDP to APC.
“While we do not believe that Nigeria should be designated a state sponsor of narcotics trafficking over Tinubu’s drug crimes in Chicago, in accordance with the Kingpin Act 1999 to combat international drug trafficking and impose sanctions on “significant foreign narcotics traffickers”, due to jurisdictional and statute limitation issues amongst others, the fact is that it is unseemly and unbecoming for the US to embrace someone with a globally visible footprint of such obscene venality including profiting from crimes that generationally destroyed lives of Americans. The very fact that the Tinubus continue to launder funds into the US & UK despite a $460,000 drug money asset forfeiture, means he’s a serial offender who hasn’t repented of his dubious ways. Like ISIS, Tinubu merely relocated his lethal operations to Nigeria.
“Indeed, it is very possible that the Tinubus might try to invoke diplomatic status over the multimillion dollar New York homes, should he be sworn in, to shield these illicit assets from US law.
“The US has an urgent duty to protect itself from corruption and impunity of politically exposed persons.
“Forgery and deception
“Furthermore, we are concerned that Senator Tinubu has engaged in deception and forgery.
“The US embassy’s FBI Legal Attaché in Nigeria wrote to the Nigerian Government that upon investigation, no record of Bola Tinubu was found at Chicago State University.
More recently, intrepid Investigative journalist David Hundeyin revealed that the certificate Tinubu submitted to the INEC was a forgery obtained from a certificate counterfeiting website and was not a legitimate CSU diploma.”
Not yet done, the coalition gave two other reasons why the US Government should keep Tinubu at arm’s length:
“The BBC reported that a fake INEC collator presented a fake result for Oyingbo LG giving Tinubu’s party APC a false victory over LP in Rivers State.
“This is hugely significant because when an official in Adamawa state declared a candidate as governor, INEC itself disowned it, suspended and declared him wanted.
“The case of the fake collator is even worse because he is not a lecturer in the institution he claimed to be from and is actually unknown to INEC! Thus INEC HQ is guilty in the presidential election of procuring a fake official to produce a fake result in Rivers before it turned around and accused its own REC of the same crime in Adamawa state.
“Furthermore, an addition of votes on INEC’s own IREV portal shows LP won Rivers state contrary to INEC’s fraudulent declaration as reported by both Premium Times and BBC.
“This means that INEC’s criminality is on full display before the whole world. How can the presidency of the most populous black nation be anchored on such a gigantic scam?
“The even more disturbing poser is how can the US which is prosecuting hundreds of Americans involved in an egregious attempt to overthrow its elections including using fake electors, hypocritically legitimize the profiteer of a vote tainted by violence and venality? What is bad for America is bad for Nigeria.
“Human Rights abuses
“Investigations uncovered a for-profit motive in the deadly Lekki tollgate massacre of October 2020.
“One of the most shocking revelations was that the Lekki toll plaza that became the Lagos #EndSARs public square was operated by Bola Tinubu’s son. There was therefore a personal financial benefit to be derived directly by ending the protests.
“Tinubu actually complained that the protest was affecting Lagos State’s economy.
“Tinubu is the official revenue collector for Lagos state and the Lekki toll plaza was reportedly managed by his son.
“A knowledgeable source alleged, “Tinubu owns the toll premises. Seyi his son manages companies within the premises. Seyi put off the billboards and removed the surveillance cameras. In anticipation of the impending massacre.”
“The army were invited by Lagos Governor Sanwo-Olu who said “a small unit of the army was deployed”. According to notable lawyer and scholar Dr Sam Amadi, “That was a terrible failure of intelligence and administrative wisdom. There was no serious threat to peace….The murderous history of the Nigerian military should have informed the Governor of the likely consequences. If as they Army has claimed the Lagos Governor invited it to enforce the curfew and remove the protesters at the Lekki Tollgate, then the Lagos Governor is vicariously responsible for any deaths that occurred as well as any soldier who may have pulled the trigger.”
“From all accounts, progress was being made by the parties on the issues and there was simply no urgency, exigency or emergency that required escalation to military intervention that killed several innocent civilians.
“Despite all the efforts of the #ES activists to maintain a pristine peaceful protest, people characterized by the government as “hoodlums” unleashed violence aside from the official security forces’ assault.
“It is to be noted that the ruling party APC maintains an armada of thugs in Lagos that it used to disrupt elections with impunity in 2019 and again in 2023. Political thuggery in Lagos is a de facto institution and industry with reputed ties to Tinubu separate from the senseless massacre of peaceful protesters.
“In light of the foregoing, we request that you also restrict the visa of Senator Tinubu for his party’s role in the violent and deadly suppression of voters in Lagos state including the murder of a Labor Party Polling Agent at Trade Fair area.
“As the prime perpetrator and beneficiary of political violence in Lagos, Senator Tinubu should not be exempt from this policy.”
The coalition pointed out that if Tinubu “is sworn in as president and obtains a diplomatic passport, he can reapply for a US visa for official visits thereafter under relevant international exceptions for sovereigns attending the UN in New York.”
“Mr Secretary, it is crucial that the US does not approbate the travesty in Nigeria. Do not legitimize it by attending any inauguration of a candidate, prior to resolution of all legal challenges, as has been announced. The US cannot once again continue to position itself on the wrong side of history in relation to Nigeria,” the activists said.
– The Cable