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British Govt Declines Comment On Obi’s Detention By UK Immigration

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The United Kingdom government yesterday refuted comments over the detention and interrogation of the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the just concluded 2023 elections, Peter Obi, by British immigration officials following issues of identity at the Heathrow airport in London.

When contacted for clarification on the matter, the head of the Media Unit of the British High Commission in Abuja, Dean Hurlock, told our correspondent that the mission does not make comments on issues of that nature because they are personal.

“The British High Commission is aware of media reports around the LP presidential candidate in the past few days. But in line with the Commission’s policy, we don’t comment on individual cases,” Hurlock said.

The Media was yesterday awash with reports that the UK government had apologised to Obi over the embarrassing way he was allegedly treated in London, describing it as ” unacceptable’

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But in a swift reaction, the Media Office of the Labour Party Presidential Campaign Council (LPPC) denied receiving any apology from the British government over the embarrassing detention of its Presidential candidate.

Obi was last Friday detained at the Heathrow Airport by Immigration officials over a case of duplicated identity.

Head, Obi-Datti Media team, Diran Onifade, in a statement called on the UK government to resolve the matter around the treatment of the former Anambra State governor, even as he reiterated that the Labour Party has gone past the incident.

The statement reads in part: “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.

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“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.

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“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 a conclusion.

“Mr Peter Obi and the LP/PCC have since moved on from the incident and continue to be totally focused, on the legal processes before the Election Petition Tribunal towards the recovery of our mandate, which we are firmly convinced was overwhelmingly expressed by voters, in the Presidential election of February 25th.”

Meanwhile, the federal government of Nigeria has denied news making the rounds that it intervened in the detention ordeal of the Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, in London, United Kingdom last week.

A fake photo had gone viral on the social media on Thursday purportedly showing the executive chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, seated in an office with Obi and a UK law enforcement officer in order to secure the LP presidential candidate’s release from detention.

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Also, an aide of President Muhammadu Buhari, Bashir Ahmad, also tweeted on Thursday, implying that the federal government intervened in Peter Obi’s ordeal to secure his release.

Ahmad wrote, “I heard Aunty @Abike Dabiri has done it for the Compatriot that needed her intervention in the UK. God bless you and the services you have been rendering for our countrymen and women, especially this recent one, ma’am!”

But, the spokesperson and head of media, public relations and protocol unit of NiDCOM, Abdur-Rahman Balogun, disowned the viral photo, describing it as a stunt.

He said the NiDCOM boss, Dabiri-Erewa, was not in the UK and not in a position to secure the release of any Nigerian suspected to be under UK interrogation

“Our attention has been called to the above social media stunt which has gone viral. Aunty Abike Dabiri-Erewa is NOT in the UK and NOT in a position to secure the release of any Nigerian suspected to be under UK interrogation. So, members of the public should disregard the information in its entirety,” the NiDCOM spokesman stated.

I’m Not Aware Of Any Apology From UK – Obi

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In his reaction yesterday, Obi said he was not aware of any apology from the UK government in respect of the Heathrow Airport incident.

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A statement issued by Diran Onifade, Head, Obi-Datti Media, said they have not received any apology from the UK government as widely reported by some media platforms.

“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.

“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.

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“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 its conclusion.

“Mr Peter Obi and the LP/PCC have since moved on from the incident and continue to be totally focused, on the legal processes before the Election Petition Tribunal towards the recovery of our mandate, which we are firmly convinced was overwhelmingly expressed by voters, in the Presidential election of February 25th,” the statement added.

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