Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The Founder of Daar Communications, owner of Ray Power FM and Africa Independent Television (AIT), Chief Raymond Dokpesi, has accused the federal government of being behind his arrest.
He was arrested by the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja last Friday, after he returned from a medical trip overseas.
Dokpesi disclosed this yesterday while speaking with journalists in Abuja after he was grilled by the NIS for two hours at its headquarters in Abuja.
The PDP chieftain said that the intention of NIS was to seize his passport, which he said was returned to him by a Federal High Court.
Dokpesi explained: “I just returned from a medical trip overseas last Friday, March 22, 2019, when I was arrested for 50 to 55 minutes at the Airport. I was told that they have instructions from above to arrest me on my return; but after a few phone calls and contacts, the immigration officer at the airport told me that he has instructions from above that I can leave and he gave me back my passport and told me that I should go and that they will reach me subsequently.
“On Monday, I received new information, and in line with the normal process, I returned my passport to the Federal High Court, since I travelled under a judicial approval or permission. So, I returned my passport, telling the court that I have gone and came back, and gave notice that I might have to go for a medical check- up so that they will ensure that the operation was successful and that all the organs and everything are properly healed.
“So, when I got the letter yesterday March 26, I replied that same yesterday (Tuesday) notifying them that I have returned the passport to the Federal High Court, and that it has been duly acknowledged and added all the necessary information and so on. But the officers who interrogated me said that they had expected me to go back to the Federal High Court and obtained the passport with their letter of invitation and I told them that I totally defer from that line of thought.
“If you, the immigration service with the instruction from above, requires my passport then write directly to the Federal High Court and request for the passport. If you like, you can copy me for me to be able to go there and say, look I am supposed to be a courier, has the court approved it and I will return it clearly, but that did not happen and that made us have altercations and tempers went very high.
“But I stood my ground and said, well I am a Nigerian citizen, I have travelled out for my medical treatment, I am back to the country and I voluntarily came back and has handed over my passport to the appropriate authority. They were telling me that passport was a property of the federal government and federal government has a right to withdraw it at any time.
“Granted passport is a property of the federal government and federal government has a right to withdraw it, but I am also a citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and there is a judicial process, there is a rule of law, why should we not go through the judicial process and be able to define what is required,” he added.
Asked if there was any indication that NIS wanted to impound his passport, Dokpesi stressed, “definitely if I had brought my passport today, they would have impounded it; that is what it is. I do not suspect any foul play; I can only say what I know but honestly this is the handiwork of the Buhari’s federal government.”
Earlier, NIS Public Relations Officer, Mr. Sunday James, said that Dokpesi was invited by the service for official-related issues, adding that he has been released.
According to him, “Immigration is just doing its official assignment and when it is due for the public to know the outcome, they will know.”