Security agencies are probing alleged plot by the defeated presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, to prevail on the United States to recognise him as the ‘authentic President’ of Nigeria.
The agencies are already on the trail of members of the Atiku Deservation Group behind the printing and distribution of the defeated candidate’s posters in some parts of the country.
The posters bore the inscription PUKKA, which in Hindi and Urda figuratively means ”fully formed”, “solid”, “permanent”, “for real” or “sure, authentic, genuine, solid and excellent”.
It was learnt that the security agencies are working on a theory that some groups loyal to Atiku were out for subversive activities against Buhari administration.
A part of the plot was to lobby members of the inner circle of President Donald Trump and the US Congress to delay its recognition of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The agenda was said to be an attempt to stop the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari on May 29.
Despite denial by Atiku and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), The Cable, an online news medium, yesterday claimed to have confirmed the payment of $30,000 by Atiku to a lobbying firm to “defeat” what it called “flagrant violence and irregularities orchestrated” by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Buhari to compromise the presidential election.”
According to a top source, the government does not treat the intelligence at its disposal on the engagement of the US firm, Fein & DelValle PLLC, with levity.
The source said: “The whole script is about subversive plot against the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. Security agencies picked up some intelligence and they are already investigating individuals and groups connected with it.
“It is not a case of crying wolf or an attempt to intimidate Atiku. Some clues were presented to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday. In fact, about eight ministers contributed to the issue to underscore the gravity of the case at hand.
“It was a resolution of FEC that the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, should alert the nation through a media briefing.”
Responding to a question, the source added: “What we have at hand points to a semblance of treasonable felony, but security agencies are probing it.
“They are also on the trail of groups and individuals connected with this fresh plot against the government.”
When asked of the nature of the intelligence at the disposal of the government, Mohammed said: “You do not expect me to disclose this.”
Meanwhile, The Cable claimed yesterday to have confirmed that Atiku paid $30,000 to Fein & DelValle PLLC, a US firm.
It said the PDP presidential candidate “sought the services of the company in his bid to unseat President Muhammadu Buhari.”
The newspaper said: “The Centre for Responsive Politics (CRP) had reported how Atiku hired Bruce Fein, a former official of the US justice department, and his firm Fein & DelValle PLLC, in March.
“In its terms and conditions for representation, Fein & DelValle PLLC had said it would establish and operate a situation room located in its Capitol Hill offices in the US and enlist the services of Lloyd Ukwu, a Nigerian barrister and trusted confidant of Atiku, to assist in the operation of the situation room.
“The firm also proposed to execute strategies to secure the US endorsement of Atiku’s efforts to defeat what it called “flagrant violence and irregularities orchestrated” by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Buhari to compromise the presidential election.
“Twenty-four hours after the report was published, Atiku denied paying money to US consultants in his bid to dislodge Buhari, his main rival in the February 23 election.
“But documents seen by The cable showed that Atiku paid the money to the firm two days after signing a 90-day contract (April 1, 2019 to July 1, 2019). He signed the contract on March 24 and paid the money on March 26.
“The amount was budgeted for costs and expenses for the 90-day period. In addition, the agreement was for Atiku to separately pay all pre-approved international travels, business class.
“According to a document received by the United States’ department of justice foreign agents’ registration act (FARA), with registration number 6654, on April 2, Fein & DelValle, PLLC, registered as a foreign agent for Atiku and the PDP on March 20.
“FARA is a disclosure statute that requires persons acting as agents of foreign principals in a political or quasi-political capacity to make periodic public disclosure of their relationship with the foreign principal, as well as activities, receipts and disbursements in support of those activities.
“The firm said it received $30,000 from Atiku on March 26, which was confirmed in item 9(a) under the financial information clause of the registration statement.
“In item 9(b), the firm made it clear that it did not receive any other thing of value other than money from Atiku.
“The lobbyist firm, a registered and active corporate law firm in the US, stated that the agreement with Atiku is in a formal written document.”
In an interview with NAN, the Executive Director of the Deservation group, Dr. Sani Adamu, justified the theme of PUKKA.
He claimed that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, candidate of the PDP in the just concluded presidential election is Nigeria’s authentic president.
Reminded that Atiku already has a case before the presidential election petition tribunal, Adamu expressed confidence that Abubakar would get justice at the tribunal.
NAN said a search on the web address (www.deservation.org) shows Atiku Deservation Movement (Project 774 for Atiku 2019) with RC 1167591 with the contact Magaji/Sanda Ward Yola South Adamawa State as well as phone number and a mail address.