SaharaReporters has exclusively obtained legal documents showing that British authorities in 2008 revoked Senator Emmanuel Nnamdi (Andy) Uba’s multiple entry visa into any of the territories of the United Kingdom.
The decision to bar Mr. Uba, a former senior domestic aide to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, was taken by the Secretary of State for the Home Department (SSHD).
Judicial filings obtained by SaharaReporters reveal that the British High Commission in Abuja had on November 11, 2004 issued a five-year multiple entry visitor’s visa to Senator Uba, who represents Anambra South in the National Assembly. However, in a letter dated December 2, 2008, the SSHD informed Mr. Uba of the revocation of his visa.
“The purpose of this letter is to inform you that on 26 November 2008, after the most careful consideration, the Home Secretary personally directed that you should be excluded from the United Kingdom,” the revocation letter stated.
It added, “On the basis of your character, conduct and association with fraud and other criminal activities, your presence in the UK would not be conducive to the public good and the Home Secretary has decided that you should be excluded from all territories of the United Kingdom.”
The letter also informed Senator Uba that the decision to prohibit his entry into any part of the U.K. would be reviewed after three years.
Court documents in our possession further show that an application by Mr. Uba to persuade British authorities to lift their prohibition against him was denied in 2011.
A court filing by British lawyers representing Mr. Uba noted that the Nigerian senator’s “application for permission to seek judicial review was refused at an oral hearing on 1st July 2011 by Mr. Ockelton, sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge.”
Mr. Uba’s lawyers appealed the decision, claiming that, in rejecting the senator’s application, the court had failed to take “into account the representations and evidence presented by the Claimant during the course of his application.”
In a letter dated December 19, 2011, Mr. Uba’s lawyers again “requested a review of the decision to exclude him from the United Kingdom.”
They urged the Home Department to note that Mr. Uba “has been a law abiding citizen of Nigeria who has been contributing his best to the development of his country.”
They pointed out that the former presidential aide “was elected a Senator of Nigeria’s upper legislative chamber in 2011.”
They also argued that Mr. Uba “would not have qualified for election to the Nigerian Senate” if he had been implicated in criminal activities.
The lawyers drew attention to sections of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 “which clearly sets out at clauses 65-66 the stringent criteria that would enable an individual to qualify for election as senator in Nigeria.”
Mr. Uba’s lawyers stated that the senator felt that his woes were linked to “unsubstantiated allegations made on the internet against him,” adding, “there has been no proven conviction to date against him in any country in the world, including Nigeria.”
The senator’s legal team asserted that “the internet, being a tool open to all individuals to post documents on, can be used as a weapon of destruction and assassination of character.”
Despite the pleas by Senator Uba’s attorneys, the SSHD reaffirmed that the controversial politician would remain a persona non grata from the U.K. That decision was contained in a letter dated July 19, 2012.
“In response to your letter I can only reiterate previous advice which states that the Home Secretary personally excluded Mr. Uba from the UK because she did not consider his presence in the UK to be conducive to the public good on the basis of his character, conduct and association with fraud and other criminal activities,” the letter stated.
Court documents indicated that Senator Uba’s lawyers mounted a further legal challenge to the decision barring their client from the U.K., but to no avail.