ElectionsFact Check

False! UK government did not issue apology to Peter Obi for detaining him

Claim: The United Kingdom government has apologised to Peter Obi over his brief detention at Heathrow Airport.

Verdict: False! There is no official statement yet from the United Kingdom government. 

Full Text

Mr Obi, former Governor of Anambra state, gained popularity during the recently concluded elections, particularly when he crossed from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to the Labour Party (LP) and emerged as the presidential candidate of the latter. 

Mr Obi, however, came third in the presidential election. He polled a total of 6,101,533 votes, according to results announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). 

Since the election ended, Mr Obi, who enjoys support from young people known as Obidients, has continued to make the headlines.

On April 12, 2023, the Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Office explained that the former governor was detained by immigration officials at the Heathrow Airport in the UK on Good Friday, April 7.

In a statement issued to explain Mr Obi’s encounter at the airport, Diran Onifade, the head of the Obi-Datti campaign council, said the former governor was held over offences allegedly committed by an impostor. He also warned that the impersonator could commit weighty crimes and other dubious acts, which would be recorded in Mr Obi’s name. 

Mr Onifade further added that Nigerians and others who lent their voices to the matter aided the politician’s immediate release.

While some members of the opposition parties have mocked Mr Obi because of the incident at the London airport, a viral post on social media claimed the British government had issued an official statement apologising to Mr Obi over the detention. The tweet can be seen here.

A blog, Newsband, falsely reported that the British government issued an apology to Mr Obi, quoting the authorities to have said, “Frankly, the Immigration Official’s action – has been appalling – and we are sorry.”

Verification

A keyword search on the official Twitter handle of the UK Government @GOVUK shows no official apology from the country to the ex-governor. The last tweet on the page was made on March 30, relating to visas.

Also, no credible news outlet reported the acclaimed apology to Mr Obi.

Similarly, the Obi-Datti campaign council has started to debunk the rumoured apology.

“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,” the statement issued by Mr Onifade reads.

Onifade, however, expressed confidence in the ability of the British authorities to resolve the matter to a reasonable conclusion.

Conclusion

The claim that the United Kingdom government has apologised to Mr Obi over his detention at Heathrow airport is false. 

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