The founder of Daar Communications PLC, Raymond Dokpesi, on Wednesday said he was invited by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) on issues related to his international passport.
Mr Dokpesi speaking with journalists at the gate of the Immigration Head office in Abuja, shortly after an interrogation that lasted for about two hours, said that the Service wanted him to leave his passport with them.
He recalled that on his return to Nigeria on March 25 from a medical trip, immigration officers invited him on arrival at the Nnamdi Azikwe Airport and he was with them for about 50 tminutes, before he was allowed to leave.
Mr Dokpesi said that the officer handed back his passport to him with an instruction that they would reach him 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 that I have gone and came back and gave notice that I might have to go for a medical checkup so that they will ensure that my medical operation was successful and that all the organs and everything are properly healed.
“When I got the (NIS) letter yesterday, (Tuesday) March 26, I replied that same yesterday 26 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.”
Mr Dokpesi said that the officers who interrogated him however said that the service had expected him to go to the court and obtained the passport with their letter of invitation.
He said that he totally defer himself from that line of thought.
“I have returned, I got the passport from the Federal High Court, I have returned the passport to the Federal High Court.
“If the immigration service, with the instruction from above requires my passport, then write directly to the federal high court and request for the passport.
“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 have 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,” he said.
Mr Dokpesi said while agreeing that passport was a property of the federal government and it has the right to withdraw, he believed that he was also a citizen and judicial process and rule of law should be followed in doing so.
Asked if the issue has been resolved, Mr Dokpesi said he was told that he could be invited again if the need arises.
Speaking earlier with journalists, the NIS Public Relations Officer, James Abraham, said that Mr Dokpesi was invited for official-related issues and he had been released. “But I can’t discuss the issues with you now.”
Asked if the invitation has anything to do with Mr Dokpesi’s legal battles, Mr Abraham said that Mr Dokpesi was a high-profile individual and until his investigation was concluded the matter could not be disclosed.
“Immigration is just doing its official assignment and when it is due for the public to know the outcome, they will know,” he said.
Mr Abraham said that all Nigerians were treated the same way, with high standards particularly when it is related with the operation of the Immigration service.
“We don’t undermine human rights and we don’t undermine the standard of practice. Every person that is treated by the NIS is treated with the best practice.”
On whether Mr Dokpesi would still be invited, Mr Abraham said “If there is any need to invite him again, why not?”
Mr Dokpesi is standing trial for alleged involvement in the diversion of N2.1 billion security funds by Sambo Dasuki, former National Security Adviser.