Sunday, August 14, 2022

Atiku violated 1999 Constitution when he served as customs officer: Tinubu 

“It is our considered view that Atiku gamed the system all through his career in public service.”

• July 23, 2022
Bola Tinubu and Atiku Abubakar
Bola Tinubu and Atiku Abubakar

The campaign organisation of Bola Tinubu, presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has clapped back at the opposition candidate, Atiku Abubakar. 

The comments follow the former vice president’s television interview aired on Friday.

In a statement signed by Bayo Onanugu, the Tinubu Campaign’s director of media and communications, the organisation painted Mr Abubakar as untrustworthy with public funds, referencing his time in Nigeria’s Customs Service.

The statement described Mr Atiku as “a man who is not prepared for the job he is applying for and a man who can not be entrusted with our commonwealth.”

“It was most shocking Atiku admitted that he cheated the system for decades and engaged in gross misconduct as a government worker,” the statement said. “As a customs officer at the Idi-Iroko border, Atiku revealed that he ran a commercial taxi service, claiming ‘there is no law stopping public officers from doing business in Nigeria’. He punched harder, claiming there is no conflict of interest in doing so.”

Mr Tinubu’s campaign organisation cited Part I, Fifth Schedule, Section 2 (b) of the 1999 Constitution, maintaining that officers in the civil service are to comply with a code of conduct and service rules which bar civil and public servants from engaging in private business while in government employment to the detriment of the service he/she is employed to render to the public. 

“We wonder which rule or which law Atiku was relying upon for his gross misconduct as a public officer. It is our considered view that Atiku gamed the system all through his career in public service, culminating in his founding of Intel Logistics along with Late Shehu Yar’Adua and some Italians, even while he was still in the employment of the Nigeria Customs Service,” the statement continued.

Mr Abubakar had worked in the Nigeria Customs Service for twenty years, rising to the rank of Deputy Director. He retired in April 1989 and took up full-time business and politics.  

Mr Atiku was invited by Gabrielle Volpi, an Italian businessman in Nigeria, to set up Nigeria Container Services (NICOTES), a logistics company operating within the Ports. 

In 2019, Mr Abubakar said that he was allowed to buy major shares in the private company. He maintained that did not set up the company but only bought shares at the time.

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