Tuesday, September 26, 2023

FBI announces plan to start releasing 2,500 documents on Bola Tinubu from October

The record is expected to clear questions about when the Nigerian president first entered the U.S., under which name he entered and his encounters with law enforcement ever since.

• September 11, 2023
Bola Tinubu and FBI
Bola Tinubu and FBI

The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will start turning over approximately 2,500 documents relating to President Bola Tinubu in its database, Peoples Gazette can report. 

The frontline American law enforcement institution said it would start releasing the documents effective October ending at 500 pages per month, according to a new court filing obtained by The Gazette. 

“FBI has identified a total of approximately 2500 pages potentially responsive to FOIA requests 1553430-00 and 1587544-000,” the U.S. body said in a status report docketed on September 11 at the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in Washington, D.C. “FBI plans a processing schedule of 500 pages per month, with an initial release anticipated by the end of October 2023.” 

The unexpected move followed the FBI’s initial reluctance to turn over the documents in line with a freedom of information request first filed in 2022. Aaron Greenspan, who runs PlainSite, a website that pushes anti-corruption and transparency in public service, filed the request in collaboration with journalist David Hundeyin. The Gazette has monitored the application for months and offered suggestions to help ensure its success after initial excuses by the FBI.

The disclosure is expected to clarify outstanding questions about when Mr Tinubu entered the U.S., under which name he entered and all activities he has been involved in ever since. Mr Tinubu spent decades in the United States, appearing to have first moved there in the 1970s. More details about his forfeiture of $460,000 over drug dealing in Chicago the 1990s are also expected to be among the records to be released.

The Nigerian president’s background has remained a mystery for most citizens as questions about his real parents and childhood education have not been answered.

Alongside the FBI, the U.S. State Department, Internal Revenue Service, and Drug Enforcement Administration have all indicated readiness to turn over thousands of pages of Bola Tinubu-related records. The Central Intelligence Agency also said it was collating records of Mr Tinubu for release in compliance with the law.

Effective October, the State Department said it would start turning over 450 pages every six weeks from its archive on Mr Tinubu. 

The development comes as Mr Tinubu’s prior claims around his admission into Chicago State University (CSU) come under additional scrutiny with a fresh lawsuit by Atiku Abubakar, his main challenger at the 2023 presidential election. The Gazette reported only last week that Mr Tinubu gained admission to study business administration (with a major in accounting) using his 1970 O’Level results based strictly on high school science subjects  — physics, chemistry and biology.

In 2022, CSU sent records to Nigerian attorney Mike Enahoro-Ebah, based on a subpoena to the institution, that showed a female Bola Tinubu attended CSU and studied the same course as the Nigerian leader.

The 2022 records showed that a Bola Tinubu had graduated from the school on July 27, 1979, which the school dubbed a clerical error and said the correct date is July 22, 1979, fuelling suspicions that the school might be in on a cover-up for Mr Tinubu. Mr Tinubu had already presented a certificate that Mr Abubakar’s lawyers said might have been fabricated because the officials who signed the records were not at the school when Mr Tinubu graduated in 1979 or in 2022 when a reprint was issued.

Mr Abubakar, first runner-up in the February 25 polls, believes he can nullify Mr Tinubu’s election victory by presenting records that would show the name, date of birth and gender under which Bola Tinubu secured admission and graduated at CSU.

Already, Judge Jeffrey Gilbert of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago scheduled September 12 to hear in-person arguments of the lawyers of Messrs Tinubu, Abubakar, and CSU and clarify the scope of the subpoena of Mr Tinubu’s academic records to be turned over to Mr Abubakar.

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