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Was Atiku Abubakar Dismissed from Nigeria Customs?

By Egbuefi
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Nigeria's Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar said today that he was never sacked from the Customs Service as it is being insinuated from some quarters, just as he stressed that he resigned voluntarily April 28, 1989.

According to Atiku, he wrote the letter with reference number, CE/EXC/P 7370 then at the Headquarters, Ministry of Internal Affairs and addressed it to the Secretary, Customs, Immigration and Prisons Service Board, Gwagwalada, through the Director, Customs and Excise, Garki, Abuja.

Two chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and two-time gubernatorial aspirants in Adamawa and Taraba states respectively, Mr. Bala Takaya and Senator Abdullahi Kirim, yesterday, asked an Abuja High Court sitting in Maitama to issue an order stopping former Vice President Atiku Abubakar from contesting the impending presidential primary of the party.

The plaintiffs specifically asked that the high court should take into cognizance the fact that Atiku was dismissed from the Nigerian Customs Service on account of corruption, They averred that “between 1969 and 1989, Atiku Abubakar rose to become the Deputy Director of Customs and was dismissed following the findings of a panel of inquiry that recommended his dismissal.

The letter from Atiku which was made available to newsmen and titled ''Voluntary Retirement from the Federal Civil Service of Nigeria”, read: ''I hereby give notice of my voluntary retirement from the Federal Civil Service of Nigeria with effect from April 30, 1989.

Consequently, I enclose herewith receipt number of being three months salary in lieu of notice. I joined the Civil Service of the Federation on June 30, 1969.

''All Government property in my possession shall be duly returned to the stores whilst my gratuity is to be used to settle the balance of my housing loan.

''I hereby convey my sincere gratitude and appreciation to the Government of the Federation and in particular the Department of Customs and Excise for giving me an opportunity to serve for twenty years.

Many Nigerians generally believe that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is corrupt. They point to findings of the United States Senate Committee that said Atiku Abubakar was the source of the over $440m brought into the USA over a period of eight years (2000-2008) through more than 30 accounts. The committee questioned the nature and source of Atiku's wealth and also found that the allegation by the SEC that Ms Douglas received over $2million in bribe payments from Siemen AG intended part for her husband cannot be dismissed.

They also point to an indictment by The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for his alleged corrupt acts in the disbursement of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF). The former VP went to court contesting the EFCC and the Administrative Panel reports indicting him for abuse of office in his management of the PTDF money.

But Atiku and his friends say "we've heard too much of Atiku's corruption without anybody advancing one shred of proof apart from an indictment by a US congressional committee which is no court of law, maintaining it is all part of an orchestrated campaign by Former President Olusegun Obasanjo to ruin his career.

Now this allegation of a dismissal from Nigerian Customs and Excise is verifiable. The onus is on Bala Takaya and his grouo to prove their allegation. Probatio incumbit ei qui dicit, non qui negat - he who asserts must prove.

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