President Bola Tinubu has moved to block six US government intelligence agencies from releasing documents relating to a 1993 Illinois court judgment, where he forfeited $460,000 in two of his bank accounts.
The forfeiture was the outcome of an investigation that linked some money in several of Tinubu’s bank accounts to proceeds from the heroin trafficking of Adegboyega Akande and Abiodun Agbele.
President Tinubu’s move came after PlainSite founder, Aaron Greenspan, with the collaboration of Nigerian investigative journalist, David Hundeyin, sued the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the State Department, on June 23, 2023, over their denial of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to release the files on President Tinubu’s forfeiture lawsuit.
The court ruled in favour of Greenspan (the plantiff) and subsequently, a joint status report from the plantiff and the Executive Office for United States Attorneys (EOUSA), who are the defendants along with five other agencies released a statement.
“The EOUSA will comply with the FOIA request and has identified potentially responsive records and anticipates sending its initial response by the end of October 2023, and if warranted, will send subsequent responses every 30 days thereafter until production is complete.
“The State will comply with the FOIA request and has identified potentially responsive records and anticipates sending its initial response by the end of October 2023, and if warranted, will send subsequent responses at a rate of 300 pages per month or 450 pages every six weeks until production is complete.
“The FBI will comply with the FOIA requests and has identified a total of approximately 2500 pages potentially responsive to FOIA requests 1553430-00 and 1587544-000. FBI plans a processing schedule of 500 pages per month, with an initial release anticipated by the end of October 2023.
“The IRS will comply with the FOIA request and is in the process of finalising its search and expects to communicate with plaintiff about the results of its search. The CIA is not in a position at this juncture to estimate when a final determination will be made, to propose a schedule for production of documents, or to propose a schedule for the filing of dispositive motions. CIA will update the Court in a subsequent status report.
“The DEA will comply with the FOIA request. See 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(A)(ii). Pursuant to FOIA exemptions (b)(6) and (b)(7)(C). The Parties respectfully propose that they file another joint status report on or before November 10, 2023, to update the Court on the status of the responses and to provide a proposal for further proceedings, if further proceedings are necessary,” the statement read.
The total size of Tinubu’s FBI file identified in response to Greenspan’s FOIA was over 70,000 pages but the 2,500 pages being referenced are the result of the plantiff’s subsequent request to narrow down the search criteria. Tinubu’s lawyers would work to file a full argument in order to stand a chance of being able to argue any reliefs before the October 31 deadline.
Court filings showed that Tinubu’s lawyers in the U.S. have filed motions to appear in the ongoing FOIA case.
Christopher Carmichael, one of the lawyers who represented Tinubu in the recent Chicago records case, filed the motion, dated October 18, 2023, stating that he is a lawyer in good standing to appear in the case in the FOIA lawsuit underway in Washington D.C.
Mr Carey, who practices in D.C., said on Mr Carmichael’s behalf, that, “Pursuant to Civil Local Rule 83.2(c), Bryan A. Carey moves for the admission and appearance of attorney Christopher Carmichael pro hac vice in the above-entitled action. This motion is supported by the Declaration of Christopher Carmichael. As set forth in Mr. Carmichael’s declaration, he is admitted and an active member in good standing.”
Meanwhile, Atiku has mocked President Tinubu over his attempt to block the release of the details.
Atiku, who spoke through his Special Assistant on Public Communication, Phrank Shaibu, said Tinubu’s constant attempts to hide details of his sordid past were unbecoming of a man ruling over 200 million people.
“I think it is time for all Nigerians to express serious concern about this man named Bola A. Tinubu, if at all that is his real name. Some members of the Tinubu family led by Rafiu Tinubu, a former Lagos State Head of Service, claimed they don’t know him. Some schools he attended denied him; he has now kept mute over the primary and secondary schools he attended, and he has refused to reveal the identity of his father and even his past.
“He refused to come clean on the details of his settlement with American authorities amid his drug trafficking probe. Now, an attempt is being made to reveal the true details of the criminal investigation, but he has gone ahead to try and block it.
“His surrogates led by Mr Festus Keyamo had said during the electioneering that the drug investigation launched against him back in 1992 was a tax related matter. So, if that is the case, why is he afraid to let the FBI release the documents? This is indeed shameful.”
Atiku called on US authorities to see themselves as the last hope of Nigerians since most Nigerian courts had blocked all attempts to expose Bola A. Tinubu.
“Tinubu is a corn-man. He has been able to deceive Nigerians by keeping his past as a secret. Sadly, every attempt by well-meaning Nigerians to expose him has been blocked by the courts. In Lagos State, where he has ruled as Lord of the Manor for decades, the state has refused to honour FOI requests.
“Nigerians are now looking up to US authorities to do the needful so that they can, at least, have the true information on the man who is presiding over their lives. We call on American authorities not to be persuaded by this corn-man. Enough is enough! His criminal files must be released.”
He alleged back in 2007, Rafiu Tinubu, former Lagos State Head of Service, authored a book entitled , ‘Onijumu Wura: The Tinubu Dynasty of Kakawa’, in order to expose Tinubu as an impostor.
“Unfortunately, shortly after that book was launched, all the copies were miraculously mopped up. Till date, no one can find a copy of the book. The holy book says it is only the wicked that runs even when no one pursues them.
“It is time for the mask of this impostor to be unveiled once and for all. Nigerians deserve to know who Bola A. Tinubu truly is.
“Nigerians have a right to know about the past record of their president. Unfortunately, each time an opportunity comes up for Nigerians to have a full glance at the character of the man they call president, Tinubu makes a shameless attempt to block such discoveries.
“We recall that when his purported academic records at the Chicago State University were to be released, President Tinubu said such discovery would cause him irreparable damage.
“Thanks to the CSU discoveries, Nigerians now know that their President is a certificate forger, who not only fabricated the documents he gave to the Independent National Electoral Commission in the run up to the 2023 Presidential election, but that he has been a forger as far back as 1970, when he forged the secondary school certificate of the then non-existent Government College Lagos.
“Bola A. Tinubu is, yet again, playing the stalling games with the decision of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to release documents on his past while he was in the United States.
“Bola A. Tinubu must behave like a statesman and be decent enough to know that each time he comes around to frustrate a discovery about him, he embarrasses a country of over 200 million people.”