The Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) has clarified issues regarding the altercation on May 8 between the popular musician, Mr. David Adeleke, popularly known as Davido, and its staff at the Murtala Muhammadu International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, over the absence of the Nigerian visa on his American passport.
The Public Relations Officer with the NIS, Mr. Chukwuemeka Obua, in a statement yesterday, debunked the allegation that Davido was denied an exit permit because he refused to bribe the immigration officials at the airport.
Giving a detailed account of what transpired between NIS staff and the Skelewu crooner, Obua said he had approached immigration officials at the airport on the fateful day with the intention of travelling out of the country and presented a US passport with number 460918874 issued by the US State of Georgia on December 14, 2009 and valid till December 13, 2019.
He said the officer that attended to him drew his attention to the fact that his US passport had no Nigerian visa on it with which he would have been admitted into the country, only for him to counter that he had a Nigerian passport but forgot it at home.
At this juncture, he said, the officer informed Davido that he should go and bring the Nigerian passport to convince him that he did not enter the country illegally with a foreign passport without visa.
“But Adeleke (Davido) started arguing with the officer who had to refer the case to his superiors. The verdict here too was that he cannot make the trip unless he produces the said Nigerian passport.
“Livid with anger, Adeleke, in the company of his bodyguards, started protesting in a disorderly manner prompting the Comptroller of Immigration in charge at MMIA to intervene.
“He (NIS Comptroller) advised Mr. Adeleke to call his bodyguards to order and comply with the lawful instruction which would not only erase any doubt as to his immigration status but also establish his claim to dual citizenship.
“Mr. Adeleke left and on the following day, being Friday, May 9, 2014, produced his Nigerian passport with number A02227477 issued in Abuja on August 13, 2010 and valid till August 12, 2015. This passport was endorsed/stamped and he then proceeded on his trip,” Obua explained.
According to the NIS spokesman, Davido posted a damning and defamatory message on Instangram, a social media platform, where he alleged that NIS officers at MMIA had prevented him from travelling because he refused to bribe them.
“This behaviour by the young musician is quite unfortunate. One would ordinarily have expected some form of commendation from him for the professional manner the officers who attended to him conducted themselves, especially by saving him from imminent embarrassment at some international port of entry by ensuring that his passport was endorsed as is the law and practice in Nigeria,” he said
He stressed that the clarification provided by NIS on the incident was necessary to set the record straight and not to join issues with Davido.
“The CG wishes to use this medium to appeal to Nigerians to be patient and cooperate with officers at their duty posts so as to be of better service to them.
“The CG will also advise Nigerians not to encourage or indulge any NIS staff but to report promptly any officer who by words or deeds seeks gratification before performing his/her lawful duty,” Obua said.