Paul Obi in Abuja
The Department of State Services (DSS) has invited Kassim Afegbua, spokesman of former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd).
The invitation came via a telephone call from the secret police and it asked Afegbua to be at its headquarters no later than 11a.m. thursday, both Afegbua and his lawyer, Kayode Ajulo, told Premium Times last night.
The invitation came hours after Afegbua turned himself in at the Force Headquarters in Abuja after the police declared him wanted for writing a disputed statement on behalf of Babangida, who led a military junta that ruled Nigeria from 1985 to 1993.
Afegbua who arrived at the police headquarters at about 10:32a.m, wednesday in company of his lawyer, Kayode Ajulo, went straight to meet with police officials for interrogation on the statement he issued out on behalf of Babangida.
In the statement, Babangida had pointedly asked President Buhari not to run for a second term in office following public outcry against the poor performance of the administration.
Despite Babangida confirming the earlier statement by Afegbua, a fake statement was issued by IBB allies attempting to counter the authentic one authorised by the former president himself.
Amid the confusion, the police declared Afegbua wanted on allegation of defamation and incitement.
Speaking with THISDAY after honouring the invitation, Afegbua said: “Incidentally, it became a very fair discussion. The police said there was a mixed up somewhere, to have warranted me being declared wanted, and they apologised.
“They said the police are for the people, In a democracy, it is their responsibility to be there for the people, not to intimidate or harass me.
“That they didn’t intend to harass me, they didn’t intend to intimidate me. Of course, you know we have a case in court, my lawyers will advise what steps we are going to take.”
He further explained that he had earlier withdrawn the case filed against the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and Channels Television.
Ajulo also informed THISDAY that once he communicates with Afegbua on the next line of issue, that will determine whether to go on with the case or withdraw it.
Police authorities were not available to comment on the apologies Afegbua said they had offered him.
Earlier, when he arrived at the premises of the police headquarters, Afegbua had told journalists that “it will even interest you to know that when I was on Channels TV and NTA, he was the one who called me and said why are they declaring you wanted, are you a criminal. So we laughed over it, are you on the run and have they given you invitation. Who is complaining?
“Talking about defamation of character, whose character have you deformed or defamed? So I’m very much in tune with him, I’m not doing anything out of the blues.
“He is a man I’ve been with for the past 14 years as a spokesman even when I went to serve my state, Edo. I said it before that I’m part. I am only here personally because I was declared wanted, I’m not a fugitive to the law.
“I was declared wanted, it was unwise on the part of the police to declare me wanted when I have not been invited
“If the former president has spoken to THISDAY Newspaper and confirmed the first later, the other letter does not matter. To me, that purported rebuttal was unnecessary,” Afegbua submitted.