… I’m not a fugitive – Babangida’s media aide
Kassim Afegbua, the Spokesman to the former military President, Ibrahim Babangida, has turned himself in at the Force headquarters in Abuja.
Afegbua arrived the police headquarters at 10:32 a.m. in company of his wife, lawyer, Kayode Ajulo and friends.
The Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, had on Monday ordered Afegbua’s arrest over a statement he issued on behalf of Babangida, urging President Muhammadu Buhari not to seek re-election in 2019.
The ex- President’s media aide said when he was declared wanted by the police, Babangida called him and asked if he was a criminal.
When asked if he was in touch with his boss, Afegbua, who addressed journalists before entering the police headquarters, said: “It will even interest you to know that when I was declared wanted on Channels TV and Nigerian Television Authority, (NTA), my boss; IBB was the one who called me and said ‘why are they declaring you wanted? Are you a criminal? and we laughed over it.
“He also asked if I was on the run and if I have been given invitation and he said, okay that is interesting. My boss said he heard on the news that they talked about defamation of character and he asked whose character have you defamed?
“So I am very much in touch with him and I am not doing anything out of the blues. He is a man I have been with for the past 14 years as spokesman. Even when I went to serve in my state, I was still very much in touch with him. I have said it before that I am part and parcel of him, we are family and so I don’t have any cause to worry over anything.
“I am only here personally because I was declared wanted. I am not on the run, I am not a fugitive to the law and as a responsible Nigerian, I feel it was unwise on the part of the police to declare me wanted when I have not been formally invited. So I am here to present myself. I am here with my wife, other family members and my lawyer.”
On the insinuation that the second statement was sent by a family member, he added: “If the former President has spoken to Thisday Newspaper to confirm the veracity of the statement I issued on his behalf, the other letter wouldn’t be an issue because essentially, that statement as far as I am concerned did not speak for IBB and Gen. Babangida by the special grace of God was former President and his title is GCFR and not GCON. So to me, the purported rebuttal is unnecessary.”
” It is understandable why I will have to extract my own commitment by way of asking the law court to enforce my right because I have a right under the constitution of Nigeria, 1999 as amended to freedom of association, freedom of speech and dignity and even if anything warrants one being declared wanted, it shouldn’t be in that manner.”
On the withdrawal of the suit against Channels and NTA, he said: “It is because I am a media person. There is no complicity, I have withdrawn that of NTA and Channels TV this morning (Wednesday) at the Federal High Court.
“So, I am suing the IGP and the police for infringing on my rights, demeaning my person and maligning my reputation.”
When asked if he would withdraw the suit if the police apologizes, he stated: “That is secondary. When we get there, we will know.”
Shortly after Afegbua made his way into the building, journalists who were there to cover his arrival were asked to vacate the Force headquarters because the event was not organised by the police.