Published 9 years ago by: ebony ogs
at 1-03-2010 05:00PM (9 years ago)

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Front Page News
US, UK, EU place visa ban on Yar’Adua’s men •President’s aides’ names compiled by global anti-money laundering body •UK envoy, Jonathan in strategic closed door meeting

Written by Taiwo Adisa

TOP officials of  Western powers, including the United States of America (USA), United Kingdom, (UK), Canada and the European Union (EU), have  given clear indications to the Nigerian government that they are placing visa restrictions on aides of ailing President Umaru Yar’Adua, who are believed to be

orchestrating political confusion that could endanger Nigeria’s democracy.

In separate representations to Acting President Goodluck Jonathan in the last one week, sources confirmed that the Western authorities have also compiled names of such “trouble makers” in the country and forwarded same to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global anti-money laundering body, for the investigation of their alleged stupendous wealth.

Sources close to the administration confirmed to the Nigerian Tribune that while some of the Western governments made representation to the Nigerian authorities through their ambassadors in Nigeria, others actually sent special envoys.

It was gathered that a special envoy of the UK government actually met with the acting president behind closed doors on Saturday.

A source said that the delegation also included the UK Ambassador in Nigeria, Mr Bob Dewar, who led the team with a special message to the acting president.

Though the meeting was held behind closed doors, a source close to the government said that the discussions centred on how to stabilise the Nigerian democracy.

It was gathered that the UK government had, on its own, identified those described as ‘trouble makers’ in Nigeria, who are regarded as orchestrating political confusion in the country.

The acting president was told that, henceforth, such persons would be placed under scrutiny in the UK and that their names were being forwarded to the FATF.

It was gathered that while some of those involved have only earned salaries all their life, their offshore accounts are fatter than those of well known businessmen.

Sources said that there was the suspicion in the Western countries that some of those who have earned illicit funds could be willing tools and agents of terrorism.

It was also gathered that these Western governments were ready to seize assets of any of the targeted officials which could not be defended.

“There could be the likelihood of prosecutions at the end of the day but I guess they came early to inform the Nigerian authorities such that it will not be news to them when some Nigerians start facing serious times in the Western countries,” a source said.

It was learnt that the Western countries are seriously seeking the intervention of FATF to isolate the channels by which the said officials moved huge sums from Nigeria in recent years.

“They decided to inform Nigeria early enough because they would require the cooperation of the Nigerian authorities,” a source said.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister, Mr. Gordon Brown, has written to Dr. Jonathan, expressing the support of his administration for the Nigerian leader and listing areas the two countries need to urgently collaborate.

The letter, dated February 26, 2010 and signed by the Prime Minister, stated the support of the UK’s government to Jonathan’s commitment to the fight against corruption and finding  a lasting solution to the problems of the Niger Delta.

Brown welcomed the inaugural speech by Jonathan on February 9, stating that the UK was ready to continue to partner Nigeria on the path of progress.

Some of the priority areas the UK hoped  Jonathan would concentrate on and further collaborate with the West  included the Millennium Development  Goals (MDGs), the Niger Delta, electoral reform, the fight against corruption and  the fight against international terrorism.