For several hours last Friday, the former candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr. Peter Obi, was detained by British Immigration officers at Heathrow Airport, his aide Diran Onifade confirmed yesterday.
He was on his way to the United Kingdom (UK) to celebrate Easter, a statement in Abuja by the Head, Obi-Datti Media, Diran Onifade, said yesterday.
The media office claimed Obi was pulled out by immigration officers for interrogation because he was being impersonated in London.
However, the Nigerian High Commission in the UK was yet to be informed, a diplomatic source said last night.
When The Nation reached out to UK Borders Agency for its reaction, through Government Digital Service, on Obi’s arrest, it replied: “Thank you for taking the time to contact GOV.UK User Support.
“Your request (#5295511) is being reviewed by the GOV.UK User Support team.”
The statement by Onifade reads: “The presidential candidate of the LP – Peter Obi – just back from London, UK where he celebrated Easter, has confirmed that he was harassed by London immigration officials and placed for detention but for the spontaneous reaction of Nigerians at Heathrow Airport.
“Obi-Datti Media office can confirm that the LP presidential candidate in the February 25 presidential poll arrived the Heathrow Airport in London from Nigeria on Good Friday, April 7, 2023, and joined the queue for the necessary Airport protocols when he was accosted by immigration official who handed him a detention note and told him to step aside. He was questioned for a long time and it was very strange for a man who lived for over a decade in that country.
“Since Obi’s face was already an international frame, especially for Nigerians, Africans home, and in Diaspora who are likely to be Obidients, the people quickly raised their voices wondering why he was being delayed.
“The immigration officials who were also taken aback at the reaction of the people were forced to reveal that Obi was being questioned for a DUPLiCATION offense meaning that someone has been impersonating him in London.
“The high implication of the offense is that the impersonator could be committing all kinds of weighty crimes and other dubious acts and it would be recorded in Obi’s name.
“Since the impersonator is still at large, the scenario is unimaginable as Obi could be implicated in a series of forbidden acts and even be framed in a manner that could be a huge embarrassment to him, his family, his party, the obidient Movement, and indeed Nigeria, where he currently and indisputably remains the conscience of the people.”
The campaign office alleged that those urging Obi to leave the country may have planted the impersonators ostensibly to tar the “Eagle’s immaculate appearance.”
Diran alleged that Obi has been under attacks since the poll.
“Finally, let it be known that In the face of the flurry of unwarranted attacks and cogs being placed in the wheel of rescuing our dear country, Obi strongly believes that a new Nigeria is possible where the people will be able to live in a secure and productive country they will all be proud to own. Meanwhile, the former Anambra state Governor is back in the country and has continued his charity work visiting health and educational institutions, making donations, and bagging awards,” the media office said.