Ndifreke Jacob, UYO.
A tweet made by Mr. Adamu Garba, a member of the All Progressives Congress earlier today, 13th April, Twitter suggests that Mr. Peter Obi was helped by the APC when he was detained at the UK Airport on Good Friday.
Precisely, on April 7th, the Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 General Elections in Nigeria, Mr. Peter Obi was detained and questioned for hours after arriving the Heathrow Airport in London.
Mr. Peter Obi was questioned by UK Immigration Services Officials over duplicated identity.
Prof. Chinyere Okunna said the LP Presidential Candidate shared the distressing story with her at the official Opening of the Specialist Hospital of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Sisters, Nkpor on Tuesday, 11th April.
Prof. Okunna once served as Commissioner for Information, Economic Planning as well as Commissioner coordinating for development partners under Peter Obi as governor of Anambra State.
The Mass Communication scholar and Deputy Vice Chancellor of Paul University Awka, said Obi confided in her about the incident, as well as other events he believed were aimed at forcing him to leave Nigeria.
After news of Obi’s alleged ordeal at Heathrow Airport in London was revealed by his former aide, many individuals and supporters of the Obidients Movement have turned to social media to express their displeasure and criticize the UK Immigration Services over the incident.
LABOUR PARTY CONFIRMS THE STORY
A statement from the Labour Party Campaign office signed by its Spokesman, Diran Onifade said, ‘’He was questioned for a long time and it was very strange for a man who lived for over a decade in that country.
‘’Since Obi’s face was already an international frame, especially for Nigerians, African homes, and in the Diaspora who are likely to be Obidients, the people quickly raised their voices wondering why he was being delayed.
Since the impersonator is still at large, the scenario is unimaginable as Obi could be implicated in a series of forbidden acts and even be framed in a manner that could be a huge embarrassment to him, his family, his party, the obidients movement, and indeed Nigeria, where he currently and indisputably remains the conscience of the people, ‘’Onifade said on Wednesday.
UK GOVERNMENT APOLOGIZES TO PETER OBI?
In another twist, stories making round on mainstream media and online on Thursday revealed the UK Government tendered an apology to Peter Obi over the embarrassment.
A thorough online search of the purported apology from the UK Government Facebook page at UK government and website at www.gov.uk showed nothing like an apology has been sent to Mr. Obi after the incident.
Meanwhile, a rebuttal by the Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Council signed by its Head, Media, and Communications Mr. Diran Onifade confirms no apology has been tendered by the UK Government to Mr. Obi.
The statement made on Thursday, 13th April by Mr. Onifade says ‘’We have been receiving inquiries with regards to a so-called apology, purportedly issued by the British Government or any of its agencies, to our Principal Mr. Peter Obi, in respect of a routine Immigration engagement with him, as he arrived London, for a brief visit, last Friday, the 7th of April.
‘’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. While we continue to examine any dubious or political motive, on the part of the perpetrators of identity theft, we have every confidence in the ability of the British authorities to resolve the matter, to a conclusion,’’ he said.
While news of the purported apology was making rounds and forming conversations on social media, a Chieftain of the APC in a shocking tweet revealed it took the intervention of the APC to bail Mr. Obi out of UK detention.
The claim made by Mr. Adamu Garba, the Deputy Director, Media of the APC Independent Presidential Campaign Council of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Twitter on Thursday was accompanied by a photo that pictured Mr. Obi sitting with Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa and a female UK Immigration Officer in an office.
Dabiri is the Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM).
VERIFICATION OF THE CLAIM/PHOTO
Since Mr. Garba posted the photo online and called out Mr. Obi for being in possession of the fake document, the photo has generated rounds of arguments and reactions from netizens.
Some netizens frowned at APC and its Chieftain for circulating the photo and calling it fake.
However, Factsreporter Nigeria ran a thorough fact-check on the photo using Google Reverse Search and found that the photo circulating on Twitter was shared by APC members in the early hours of Thursday.
Top on the search which matched the photo was a reply from JJ. Omojuwa @Omojuwa about the photo at 7:43 am, 13th April with over 84.3 thousand views. The second search match was a tweet from Festus Keyamo @fkeyamo.
Another fact-check attempt with TinEye showed that no similar image matched the photo anywhere on the web after crawling over 59.5 billion images search. What this means is that the photo is a new image generated and circulated on social media and has never existed before Thursday, 13th April 2023.
However, we ran another fact-check to find out if the photo was cloned or photoshopped. Using a combination of ‘forensically and fotoforensic,’ two separate fact-check tools, we found out that the photo circulating on social media was cloned using an encoding process known as Progressive DCT, Huffman coding on fotoforensic.
Metadata of the photo is shown here.
Using forensically, we subjected the photo to four levels of analysis – Magnifier, clone detection tool, Error Level Analysis, and Noise Analysis to check what has been added to the photo.
We found out the images were separate individual photos taken by the three persons on different occasions and compressed digitally. Detail of how the photo was compressed is shown in the attached image with clear evidence of the parametres of effect and compression done.
Also, the photo of Hon. Abike added to the image was a picture of her visit to Naval Chief, Vice Admiral AZ Gambo on 30th March, 2023. The photo was posted by Hon. Abike herself at about 10:31 pm.
And that of the UK Officer that was extracted and compressed with the other photos.
WHAT IS PDH?
Progressive DCT Huffman coding (PDH), is a method used for compressing digital images. DCT means “Discrete Cosine Transform,” which is a mathematical algorithm used to analyze and compress images.
Huffman coding is a technique used to compress the output of the DCT algorithm by assigning shorter codes to more frequently occurring values. It is commonly used in image and video compression standards such as JPEG and MPEG.
Meanwhile, NiDCOM through its Head of Media, Public Relations and Protocol Unit, Abdura-Rahman Balogun has dismissed the viral photo and described it as stunt.
He clarified Hon. Abike was not in the UK and not in a position to secure the release of any Nigerian suspected to be under UK interrogation.
He said, ‘’Our attention has been called to the above social media stunt which has gone viral. Aunty Abike Dabiri-Erewa is NOT in UK and NOT in a position to secure the release of any Nigerian suspected to be under UK interrogation. So, members of the public should disregard the information in its entirety.’’
VERDICT: The image circulating online which showed Mr.Peter Obi, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa and a UK Immigration Officer is false and a cloned picture picked and compressed together with the help of PDH to mislead the public.