The U. S State Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have said that for ‘unusual circumstances,’ President Bola Tinubu’s criminal and immigration records in their possession cannot be released yet.
This is following a civil lawsuit filed over the matter before Judge Beryl Howell of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in Washington, D.C.
Aaron Greenspan, an American public disclosure activist, had filed a freedom of information request to the FBI, State Department, Department of Treasury, and Drug Enforcement Administration, among federal and local agencies, seeking an urgent release of Mr Tinubu’s immigration and criminal records.
Prior to this development, Tinubu had maintained in court that he did not commit any crimes during his decades-long residency in the United States.
Mr Tinubu also asserted ownership of his identity, despite strong indications he might have changed names and education records in the past.
The State Department is believed to have records of whether or not the person who applied for a U.S. visa and travelled as Bola Tinubu in the 1970s is the same person running Nigeria today.
According to People’s Gazette, the FBI had, in August 2022, sent a message to Mr Greenspan over his request, saying: “Please be advised that ‘unusual circumstances’ apply to the processing of your request.”
However, on 22 March 2023, the FBI said it would try to release all documents relating to Mr. Tinubu in its possession, but not until January 2026 at the earliest.
Other agencies, including the Department of Treasury’s Internal Revenue Service and the Drug Enforcement Administration, also said they wouldn’t release the documents on the same grounds.
According to the FBI, 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 the government.”