The presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), in the February 25 election, Mr. Peter Obi was allegedly detained at London’s Heathrow Airport by United Kingdom immigration officials last Friday.
The reason for the detention was not clear, but the former Anambra State governor was said to have been interrogated by the officials for hours after his British Airways plane landed.
However, the Obi-Datti Media Office yesterday said that despite the harassment of the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr. Peter Obi, by immigration officials in the United Kingdom, his resolve to pursue his stolen mandate using the judicial process remains unshakable.
This is even as the apex Igbo socio-cultural body, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has condemned in strong terms, the reported attempt to frame up and arrest the Labour Party candidate in London obviously by political enemies.
Ohanaeze said any plot to embarrass and pull down Peter Obi simply because the had decided to legally pursue the mandate believed to have been given him by Nigerians will continue to fail.
Obi detained at London’s Heathrow Airport for hours
Obi’s former Chief of Staff, Prof Chinyere Okunna, a famous Mass Communications scholar and currently the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Paul University Awka said although Obi narrated his ordeal in the UK in confidence, she could not keep it to herself given what is happening to him since the end of the 2023 presidential election.
Okunna, who also worked with Obi as Commissioner for Information, Commissioner for Economic Planning, and coordinating Commissioner for Development Partners, wondered why this should happen to someone who lived honourably in the UK.
According to Okunna, it is possible that what happened to him in London was part of the design to hound and chase him out of Nigeria.
She said: “Obi spoke to me at the official opening of the Specialist Hospital of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) Sisters, Nkpor near Onitsha and he had arrived at the event after flying in from London.
“I had no idea he had travelled out of the country until the ovation over his presence in a London Church went viral on the internet.
“He arrived at Heathrow Airport and joined the usual queue to pass through Immigration and that was when his ordeal began.
“He was stopped and questioned for a long time and subsequently handed a detention note and told to wait for further interrogation and investigation.
“This was unusual for a man who had lived honourably in the UK for a long time.
“In the face of this harassment, some well-meaning Nigerians, knowing who he is, raised their voices in protest, demanding to know why he was being treated that way. Following a protest by some Nigerians, the immigration officials revealed that someone was impersonating Obi in the country.
“The shocking revelation by the Immigration Officer was that his (Obi’s) identity ‘was duplicated’. This revelation has set off alarm bells.
“For people who are knowledgeable about such matters, this is a very dangerous development because the implication is that someone is impersonating Peter Obi. If someone could implicate Obi in all manner of dubious and even criminal activities, and rope him into any number of offences, he could get Obi framed for one criminal act or another. The frightening scenario of what can happen is unimaginable!!!
“This is the height of it all for a man who has been under sundry intimidation and emotional torture: Bugging of his phone and those of his wife and children; keeping him constantly under surveillance; calling him names; putting him under severe pressure to leave (run away from) the country; wrongly accusing him of negative things he knows absolutely nothing about, etc.”
Okunna said that as Obi was telling her about his Heathrow Airport ordeal, she could see a man who was in severe pain and under unbearable stress, who many would expect to be at the point of despair.
“But, as he confirmed, he is ready to suffer this pain and is as determined as ever to pursue the path which he has chosen to enable him to arrive at the destination which well-meaning people in Nigeria and far beyond are expecting him to arrive at,” she said.