The news of the arrest of journalist, Chido Onumah, by men of the Department of State Service (DSS) on Sunday came as a surprise, as reports stated that the author of the book ”We Are All Biafrans” was arrested and released hours later.
However, the Department of State Security Services (DSS) has denied claims that its officials arrested the Nigerian activist. The DSS on Monday, September 30, said Onumah was never arrested by the service but was rather engaged in an interaction during which an act of his capable of undermining public order and national security was explained to him.
Afunanya said the service with credible intelligence that Onumah might be a subject of mob attack if allowed to go into town in the same cloth invited him (Onumah) and drew his attention to the implications of wearing the t-shirt.
“It was strongly believed that an attack on Onumah would have sparked ethnoreligious reprisals with dire consequences for law and order and public safety in the country,” Afunanya said.
He also explained that Onumah who understood the issues raised by the service pledged not to engage in activities that may cause disaffection in Abuja and the country at large.
Afunanya said Onumah subsequently removed the t-shirt with the inscription and agreed not to use it.
“The interaction between Onumah and the Service held in a convivial atmosphere. He appreciated the courtesies extended to him. Afterwards, the Service arranged for him to go back to his accommodation in town,” Afunanya said.
“It is hoped that this clarification has dispelled the erroneous claims and reportage that he was arrested,” he added.
He said the DSS acted within the confines of its mandate and only carried out its routine security duty that could have been discharged by a similar agency in any part of the world.
“It is not out of place for concerned security agencies to have sought clarification from a traveller concerning a subject of security interest.”
“The DSS reaffirms its avowed commitment to the rule of law and protection of citizens and national critical assets,” he concluded.
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