Abaribe Was Arrested for ‘Allegedly Aiding and Abetting IPOB’, Says Counsel

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From Deji Elumoye in Abuja

Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe’s Lawyer, Mr. Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume, SAN, has said his client was picked up by operatives of the Department of State Services, DSS, for allegedly aiding and abetting the proscribed Independent People of Biafra, IPOB.

Addressing a news conference on Saturday in Abuja, Ume claimed he got to know about Abaribe’s offence when the DSS operatives stormed his client’s residence on Friday evening.

He said when the security operatives shortly after arresting Abaribe on Friday stormed his Apo residence to conduct a search, “I specifically requested to know if they had a search warrant and they answered in the affirmative.”

“At that point, they showed me a search warrant signed by one Magistrate Kutigi and on the warrant it was written that my client was arrested for allegedly aiding and abetting the proscribed Independent People of Biafra, IPOB.”

According to him, the operatives refused to give him a copy of the search warrant but only went ahead to do a thorough house search from 5pm to 11.30pm during which everything in the house was turned upside down.

Said he: “They claimed to be searching for arms and ammunition at my client’s house with him in attendance but at the end of their search no arm or ammunition or Ghana Must Go Bag was found there.

“What they succeeded in finding in the House were only 23 items including three laptops and phones which were all documented and signed for by the leader of the operatives. They refused to release the laptops one of which contained question paper for an examination to be taken on Monday and the phones, one of which belong to an American citizen”.

He said the security operatives had denied him and his client’s doctor access to him up till Saturday morning adding,”we made efforts for bus to see my client because he needs to have access to his drugs but we were turned back so as we speak he remains incommunicado.”

Ume said he would approach the court “if by Monday his client was not released, to press for the enforcement of his fundamental rights “.

He also said that his client who stood surety for Nnamdi Kanu, leader of outlawed IPOB at an Abuja High Court, is expected to be in court at the next hearing of the case on Tuesday, June 26 “but with this arrest I will have to inform the court about his arrest.”

Ume warned government not to stifle opposition saying, “because I belief my client is being hunted because of his opposing views like other senators like Dino Melaye, Shehu Sani who have been critical of the policies of the present administration.”