The Nigerian government has asked the United States not to create an impression of endorsing the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar for the 2019 presidential election of Nigeria by granting him visa.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed gave the warning on Thursday while interacting with journalists in Abuja. He said although the US government reserves the right to give anyone visa, granting Atiku entry visa at this particular time could be interpreted as a covert endorsement of his candidature over others.

The Minister however stressed that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration was not panicking over the issue.

“Our position is that if the former VP (Atiku) already has a US visa, we have no problem about it but we want the US government not to give impression that it is endorsing one particular candidate over the other and that is what will happen if for instance, the former VP is now granted a visa.

“We are not unaware. I think it is also in the public domain that he (Atiku) has engaged the services of some lobbies in the US to facilitate the issuance of the visa for him.

“I will say that it is his own right to do so but we want all countries to be neutral in the 2019 elections and should please be wary of taking any decisions that will give the impression that they are favouring or endorsing one candidate over the other,” he said.