Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
The Labour Party has raised the alarm over how its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, was harassed, questioned and detained by the United Kingdom’s Immigration authorities during the Easter holidays over offences believed to have been committed by an impostor.
LP Presidential Campaign Council, which disclosed this on Wednesday, said that but for the swift reactions and uproar by Nigerians at the Heathrow Airport where the embarrassment took place, Obi would not have been left off the hook.
The LP PCCC, in a statement by the Head of the Obi-Datti media team, Diran Onifade, said Obi was detained for questioning on Good Friday, April 7, 2023, when he arrived at Heathrow Airport in London from Nigeria.
According to the statement, Obi was given a note by Immigration officials at the airport, asking him to step aside, and they subsequently grilled him for hours.
The statement obtained by Ikengaonline read in part, “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 officials 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 the 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.”
The ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, has launched international campaign against Obi who is currently challenging the emergence of the APC candidate Bola Ahmed Tinubu, at the tribunal.
Just last week, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, went to the US and called for Obi’s arrest over alleged treason remarks.
But Mohammed got a barrage of verbal attacks as Nigerians home and abroad accused him of using his privileged position to embark on campaign of calumny to blackmail an innocent man.
Some eminent personalities including former Commissioner for Communication and elder statesman, Edwin Clark, have called for Mohammed’s arrest and prosecution for propagating fake news against Obi.