By Hassan Zaggi
The media aide, Mr. Kassim Afegbua of former Military President, Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB), has said that his principal was shocked when the Police High Command declared him wanted for issuing a statement on his behalf.
Afegbua had on Sunday issued a statement on behalf of IBB advising President Muhammadu Buhari not to seek re-election in 2019 because of his poor performance in office.
A day after Afegbua issued the statement, which Babangida did not disown, the Police declared him wanted for a�?false statements, injurious falsehood, defamation of character and for an act capable of inciting public disturbance throughout the country.a�?
The media aide who reported at the Force Headquarters in Abuja on Wednesday, said that he had sued the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Ibrahim Idris and the Nigeria Police for what he described as a�?infringing on my right and demeaning my person and maligning me.a�?
He told The AUTHORITY that his interactive session with the Police was a�?cordial and respectfula�?.
Afegbua said that he was asked to go home after 10 to 15 minutes discussion with the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), CSP Jimoh Moshood.
He said: a�?They were polite and friendly. They said they were uncomfortable the way the open letter was carried on the television. They also denied ever declaring me wanted. They said I was not under arrest. They were actually very apologetic to me. The Thisday news story confirming the statement I issued on behalf of my principal was with them and that publication vindicated me. My team and the police team recorded the discussions.a�?
The embattled IBBa��s spokesman was accompanied to the Force Headquarters by a team of lawyers led by Prince Kayode Ajulor.
He told journalists that IBB expressed shock when he heard the news that he (Afegbua) was declared wanted by the Police.
Afegbua said: a�?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 a�?why are they declaring you wanted? Are you a criminal? And we laughed over it.
a�?He also asked if I was on the run and if I have been given invitation and he said, a�?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?
a�?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 a family and so I dona��t have any cause to worry over anything,a�? he said.
Afegbua continued: a�?I am here personally because I was declared wanted. I am not a fugitive to the law and I am not on the run.
a�?As a responsible Nigerian as feel it was unwise on the part of the police to declare me wanted even if I was not formally invited. I am here to present myself. My family members and my wife are here with me. a�?
On why he sued the police and some media houses, he said: a�?The laws of the land are very clear. When you declare some body wanted, somebody who is not a fugitive, he is not a criminal and you have not tried to arrest him and you have not invited and all you hear is on the television both locally and internationally is to demean his personality and integrity.
a�?It is understandable that I have to extract my own commitment by way of asking the law court to enforce my right. I have a right under the 1999 Constitution as amended to freedom of association, movement, freedom of speech and dignity.
a�?Because I am a media person, I have withdrawn that of NTA and Channels. I have formally filed the papers for their withdrawal. It is only left for the IGP and the police as it were for infringing on my right and demeaning my person and maligning,a�? he said.
By Hassan Zaggi