Airport detention: No apology from British govt – Obi

LABOUR Party (LP) presidential candidate Peter Obi has denied receiving any letter of apology from the British Government over his detention by Immigration officials at the London Heathrow Airport.

On April 7, Obi was detained on suspicion of impersonation during routine immigration checks as he arrived in London for a brief visit.

The incident was disclosed by the spokesperson of the Obi-Datti Media Campaign team, Diran Onifade, in a statement released on April 12.

On Thursday, April 13, there were reports that the British Government has apologised to Obi.

The reports said the British authorities sent an apology letter to the LP presidential flagbearer.

However, Obi, in a statement by Onifade, on Thursday, said he did not receive any apology from the UK government.

The statement also expresses the LP’s confidence in the ability of British authorities to resolve the matter.

“We have been receiving enquiries with regards to a so called apology, purportedly issued by the British Government or any of its agencies, to our Principal Mr Peter Obi, in respect of a routine Immigration engagement with him, as he arrived London, for a brief visit, last Friday, the 7th of April,” he said

“We would like to state emphatically that we are not aware of any such apology, and have not issued any statement whatsoever, in that regard. While we continue to examine any dubious or political motive, on the part of the perpetrators of the identity theft, we have every confidence in the ability of the British authorities to resolve the matter, to conclusion,” Onifade said.

While the incident has sparked concern among his supporters and other Nigerians, Onifade said the LP and Obi’s team have since moved on from the incident.

He said they are focused on the legal processes before the Election Petition Tribunal, where they hope to recover the mandate they believe was given to the LP presidential candidate by Nigerians on February 25.

In an earlier statement released on April 12, where he recounted what transpired at the London Heathrow Airport, Onifade had expressed concerns that Obi’s alleged impersonator, who is still at large, may commit some offences that might result in Obi’s arrest in the UK.

    Narrating what happened, Onifade said: “The Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, just back from London, United Kingdom where he celebrated Easter, has confirmed that he was harassed by London Immigration officials and placed in 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 at 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.

    “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 offence meaning that someone has been impersonating him in London.”

    You can reach out to me on Twitter via: vincent_ufuoma

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