Why UK police arrested Raymond Dokpesi in London


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Raymond Dokpesi had been arrested in the United Kingdom ahead of a scheduled political meeting with Atiku Abubakar, reports said on Sunday night.

Dokpesi, the owner of broadcaster AIT, was picked up at London Heathrow Airport as he touched down from a connecting flight via Frankfurt on Sunday evening, according to The Whistler, which first reported the incident citing passengers on the same flight.

He was allegedly on the Lufthansa flight LH916 arrived in London at 5:39 p.m. local time from Frankfurt. 

It was not immediately clear why Dokpesi was arrested, but it was learnt that he was still at the airport as of 12:06 a.m. on Monday. The Scotland Yard did not immediately return a request seeking comments.

A source said Dokpesi might soon be cleared through immigration and be released, although the reasons for his arrest remained fuzzy even to his associates as of late Sunday. 

The detention comes as Dokpesi was preparing to meet Mr Abubakar in London in a gathering a party source told newsmen was linked to strategies leading up to the presidential election next month. Mr Abubakar is standing in the election as the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate. 

Another key PDP politician Ike Ekweremadu has been in detention in London since he was arrested in June 2022 on charges of organ trafficking. A trial was scheduled to open in the matter on January 31.

Meanwhile, the management of African Independent Television (AIT) has announced the release of the founder of the company Raymond Dokpesi, after he was detained at Heathrow Airport in London on Sunday.

According to the privately owned television broadcaster, Dokpesi arrived London via Frankfurt from Abuja on a Lufthansa Airlines flight and was invited off the plane, before other passengers disembarked.

He was delayed at the airport for some hours before his passport was stamped and he was cleared by British Immigration officials for entry into the country.

“Chief Dokpesi wishes to thank all for their outpour of love, prayers and support following the news of the incident and to reassure that he is hale and hearty,” the media organisation stated.

The media founder is the Deputy Director-General, Technical and Systems of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Council.

His visit to the United Kingdom is not unconnected to the invitation of the PDP presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar by Chatham House, London’s Royal Institute of International Affairs, to share perspectives on issues around the 2023 presidential elections.

Read some of the reactions on social media about the arrest.

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