The Media Adviser to former Military Leader, Ibrahim Babangida, Kassim Afegbua, who was declared wanted by the Nigerian Police for a controversial statement he made against the Buhari administration on behalf of his boss, has maintained his innocence of any wrongdoing; adding that he is ready with his team of Lawyers to turn himself in on Wednesday.
Recall, that the Aide to IBB, Mr. Afegbua, released the Press statement on Sunday, on behalf of the former Military Head of State, condemning the Buhari administration, and thereby asking President Buhari not to seek re-election in 2019, in order to allow a brand new set of fresh brains take over the affairs of governance of the country.
However, a few hours after the statement was released, a counter-Press release emerged, that purportedly had Mr.
Babangida’s approval, debunking the previous statement.
Later on Sunday night, the Aide appeared on a Channels Television programme, insisting that the initial statement had the approval of his boss, IBB, before its release to the general public; also insisting that the follow up counter-statement did not emerge from IBB.
The development immediately threw the nation into confusion, and reports surfaced on Sunday night, that The Police were looking for Mr. Afegbua for his arrest.
Speaking, Babangida told THISDAY newspaper that he had no complaints about Mr. Afegbua, because the statement he circulated was authorised by him.
“The original statement still stands”, Babangida reportedly said to THISDAY, on Sunday night.
On Monday night, Police Spokesperson, Jimoh Moshood, revealed that the Inspector-General of Police, IGP, Ibrahim Idris, ordered the arrest of Mr. Afegbua, “for making false statements, injurious falsehood, defamation of character, and for an act capable of inciting public disturbance throughout the country.”
“He is therefore declared wanted by the NPF, and should report at the nearest Police station”, Mr. Moshood said.
Speaking to Premium Times however, Mr. Afegbua stated that his Lawyers were studying the pronouncement of the Police; and shortly after midnight, a statement from his Lawyers was sent in, absorbing him of any wrongdoing.
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”, the statement which came from Kayode Ajulo & Co. in Abuja, read in part.
“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 added.