Peter Obi, a Nigerian candidate for president.
Photo by PATRICK MEINHARDT/AFP via Getty Images.

Peter Obi Detained in London

Nigeria’s Peter Obi was detained in London’s Heathrow Airport over the Easter weekend.

Last week, Peter Obi — who was Nigeria’s Labor Party frontrunner — was detained in London’s Heathrow airport for alleged impersonation.

In a statement on Wednesday, Diran Onifade, head of media for the Obi-Datti presidential council confirmed the news.

“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 officials who handed him a detention note and told him to step aside,” Onifade said.

Onifade stated that Obi spent the Easter holidays in detention at the airport and confirmed that if charged for impersonation, the event could carry heavy consequences for Obi’s public image.

In his statement, the senior head of media alleged that the Nigerian government was responsible for what happened at the London airport adding that obscurers may have planted compromising content in Obi’s phone to get him embarrassed and implicated. This comes amid allegations that Obi was pressured to leave Nigeria or face the prospect of being arrested on false charges of inciting insurrection in the country.

“The Obi-Datti Media office will like to therefore assure all persons of goodwill, especially the Obidients, that the Rock is not deterred as he is ready to suffer the pain and remain even more determined to pursue whichever path his creator destined for him in Nigeria,” Onifade said in the statement.

During the controversial Nigerian elections, Obi received an outpouring of support from his supporters, dubbed the "Obi-dients.” Although Obi eventually lost to the ruling party’s candidate, Bola Tinubu, was announced as the president-elect of Nigeria and there was a lot of dissatisfaction over the win. Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie—who is an Obi supporter—has also publicly expressed her dissatisfaction with the election’s outcome. In a letter to the U.S. government last week, she wrote: “Rage is brewing, especially among young people. The discontent, the despair, the tension in the air have not been this palpable in years.”

This is a developing story.