Following the release of controversial statement attributed to former Head of State Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, by his aide, Mr. Kassim Afegbua, the Nigeria Police has declared IBB’s aide wanted.
The Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, has ordered his immediately arrest for allegedly making false statements.
The IGP described the statement as injurious falsehood, defamation of character and an act capable of inciting public disturbance throughout the country.
According to the spokesman of the Nigerian Police, Mr. Jimoh Moshood, a Chief Superintendent of Police, Afegbua is declared wanted by the Nigeria Police Force and should report at the nearest police station.
Mr. Afegbua had on Sunday released a statement on behalf of his boss, the former Nigerian leader (IBB), criticizing President Buhari’s government and advising Buhari not to contest the 2019 presidential election. Adding that Buhari should forget his personal ambition and allow the emergence of a younger, vibrant leader that could tackle Nigeria’s challenges headlong.
Although another statement allegedly from IBB emerged hours later saying that the content of the initial statement were his aide’s personal opinion, the former Nigerian Leader told Thisday Newspaper on Sunday night that the original statement issued by his aide still stands.
Afegbua in his response to the Nigeria Police Force through his lawyer told Premium Times that he did no wrong.
According to the statement from his lawyers, Kayode Ajulo & Co. in Abuja, Mr. Afegbua “is a well-known journalist and was a cabinet member of Edo State Government with a known address in Benin, Edo State and Abuja, yet he is not on notice of the police invitation whatsoever, before the purported publication declaring him wanted.”
“For the avoidance of doubt, there are spelt-out procedures for declaring a person wanted by the police. The police or other law enforcement agencies can declare a person wanted if they find reasons to do so, particularly if the person is a suspect in the commission of a crime and is on the run.
“The public must know that our client, in discharging his duty to his principal, General Ibrahim Babangida, GCFR cannot by any stretch of the imagination be said to have committed a crime that warrants such negative publicity. Neither is he on the run.
“Our client, however, remains undeterred by the desperate efforts of some individuals to intimidate him and bend his will and rights against the Constitution provisions, framework of Nigeria Police Force Act and the laws of the land.
“The circumscription of his constitutional right to the dignity of self, freedom of expression and fair hearing denotes that there is a desperate attempt to scare him into submission,” the statement said.
“Mr. Afegbua would turn himself in when he returns from a trip by Wednesday, his lawyers said (as seen on PT).