The United States FBI says that criminal and immigration records pertaining to Bola Tinubu won’t be made public until 2026, according to the authorities in court documents obtained by the People’s Gazette.
The U.S. State Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation(FBI) refused to make the records public, citing “unusual circumstances.” The U.S. government responded to a freedom of information request by stating that even if they were to provide the records, it wouldn’t be until at least January 2026.
Judge Beryl Howell of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in Washington, D.C., has now been served with a civil lawsuit on the situation.
In a request to the FBI, State Department, Department of Treasury, and Drug Enforcement Administration, among other federal and local agencies, American public transparency activist Aaron Greenspan requested an urgent release of Mr. Tinubu’s immigration and criminal records.
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The documents were filed at the same time that Mr. Tinubu insisted in court that he had not broken any laws while living in the United States for many years. Even if there is substantial evidence that Mr. Tinubu may have previously used several identities and educational credentials, he also proclaimed ownership of his identity.
The public has not been given an explanation for the omissions and contradictions in Mr. Tinubu’s genuine identity and educational records. For instance, when running for governor of Lagos in 1999, the Nigerian president swore to the electoral commission, INEC, that he had attended the elite University of Chicago.
Since then, the university has abandoned Mr. Tinubu. Chicago State University, a different American university, said Bola Tinubu attended the institution but did not specify if the student was the Nigerian president. According to school records, a student named Bola Tinubu who attended the institution in the 1970s was a girl.
Additionally, Mr. Tinubu claimed under oath in 1999 that he attended primary and secondary schools in Lagos and Ibadan in the 1950s and 1960s, but he removed those claims from his most recent INEC application form before the February general elections of this year. There was no proof that the primary school he claimed to have attended ever existed in Nigeria, but he did not explain why he retracted the assertions.
In 1993, Mr. Tinubu, then 71, was identified in U.S. court records as a money launderer of cocaine trafficking revenues. At the time, he had lost $460,000.
The documents were a crucial component of a case contesting Mr. Tinubu’s election as president of Nigeria before an Abuja-based tribunal reviewing petitions. This inspired Mr. Greenspan, the owner of PlainSite, a website that hosts papers from American courts and institutions, to submit numerous requests to American entities in charge of holding records that might shed light on some of the important problems troubling Nigerian minds.
It is thought that the State Department has documents indicating whether or not the individual who sought a U.S. visa and traveled under the name Bola Tinubu in the 1970s is the same person currently in charge of Nigeria.
The FBI may be able to shed more insight on Mr. Tinubu’s involvement with drugs in the United States as well as any other criminal offenses for which he may have been held accountable but which are not publicly available.
The State Department informed Mr. Greenspan in a letter dated May 15, 2023, that “this office will not be able to respond within the 20 days provided by the statute due to unusual circumstances.”
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Previously, on August 4, 2022, the FBI sent Mr. Greenspan an email with the following message: “Please be advised that ‘unusual circumstances’ apply to the processing of your request.”
However, the FBI announced on March 22, 2023, that it will attempt to make all Mr. Tinubu-related materials in its possession available, but not before January 2026 at the earliest. The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Internal Revenue Service of the Department of Treasury both declared they would withhold the documents for identical reasons.
The FBI further claimed that Mr. Greenspan “failed to demonstrate that the requested information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations and activities of government.” The activist quickly responded by pointing out how Mr. Tinubu’s drug forfeiture case in Chicago had primarily driven traffic to his organization’s website over the previous year. More than 15 million records are on the website.
In order to explain why records pertaining to a Nigerian president were deemed unique and unimportant to be made public, all the agencies have now been ordered to appear in court.
As the attorney for all the agencies, assistant U.S. attorney Jared Littman appeared on July 17 and immediately asked for a postponement until August 28, 2023, to file a response to the complaint, which was instituted on June 12, 2023.