Oyo State First Lady, Florence Ajimobi
By Olawale Olaleye and Tunde Sanni
The United Kingdom Metropolitan Police and their Border counterpart, Tuesday denied knowledge of an arrest of anyone by name Florence Ajimobi just as the rattled Oyo State First Lady has described as both shocking and surprising, the story that had spread across both the news wires and social media.
The news of the arrest of the Oyo First Lady at the London Heathrow International airport on Sunday had dominated the social media as well as some wire news while an evening newspaper had also confirmed it, citing an anonymous Metropolitan police officer as its source.
The First lady who was actually in London, had travelled on Sunday morning, October 28, aboard a Virgin Atlantic flight and arrived London that evening. But the news of her arrest came nearly two days after.
However, when THISDAY contacted the Metropolitan Police Tuesday evening, the female officer on the other side of the phone denied any such development, but advised that THISDAY checked with their border counterpart who should be in the know since the incident allegedly happened at the airport.
After getting through to one officer Jon, he obliged to check through their files and reverted, taking down the details of the THISDAY reporter and the person in question.
However, within one hour of reaching the Border police, another officer by name Gidley Hazel, replied via an e-mail and said they also had no knowledge of the case.
His short mail read: “My colleague Jon gave me a message that you wanted to know about AJIMOBI. I can confirm that Border Force has no involvement in any arrest (if one did take place). Best wishes, Gidley Hazel.”
But the First Lady who denied the development in a telephone conversation said she was neither invited nor arrested by the Met police on any charge.
“I have never been invited by the police. I don’t know where they got the information. I don’t know what they are talking about. It is all lies.”
She however confirmed being in London to attend to her 14-year-old daughter who is schooling in the United Kingdom. She promised to return to the country Wednesday. She also denied speculations that she had been to London 52 times since her husband assumed office as governor
“It is laughable that I have travelled 52 times. It means that I hardly stay in Ibadan or I travel every week. I have been living in London since 2007. I have even travelled less since 2011 when my husband became the governor, she said.
Meanwhile, the Oyo State Government has reportedly sued the Independent Communications Network Limited, publishers of PM News for the sum of N1 billion for publishing a false report. The news of the suit was contained in a statement issued by Festus Adedayo, Special Adviser on Media to the State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi.
The statement said the government of Oyo State had the responsibility to ensure that the media did not become an instrument in the hands of blackmailers for such acts.
“We want to state unequivocally that this report is not only wicked, it is the figment of the imagination of the writers. Mrs. Ajimobi was never arrested for any offence whatsoever. Even though our investigations have shown that this is the work of some arrowheads of the opposition, it was done in such an amateurish way that beats the imagination of any responsible reader,” the statement said.
The state government said that though it had a lot of respect for the media, there was the need to drag the runners of these media to court to explain the details of their reports to the rest of the world.
Government decried what it called dirty politicking by the opposition in the state who use the media for the propagation of their falsehood, stating that the “courts would be able to compel those behind this wicked lie to provide details of the veracity or otherwise of their claims on the governor’s wife. There is need exercise restraints even when exercising our fundamental rights of freedom of expressions.”