Kassim Afegbua, media adviser to former military dictator Ibrahim Babangida, has said he will turn himself in to the police, Premium Times reports.
Afegbua had been declared wanted by the Inspector General of Police, Idris Ibrahim, for “making false statements, injurious falsehood, defamation of character and for an act capable of inciting public disturbance throughout the country.”
Afegbua had on Sunday released a statement on behalf of Babangida which criticised the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration and called for the ushering in of a new generation of leaders.
A counter-statement had quickly been issued on the same day, signed by Babangida himself, saying the earlier statement did not come from him.
Babangida had however on Monday in an interview with ThisDay said the counter-statement came from well-meaning friends, and the first statement criticising the Buhari administration was truly from him.
The police has however given Afegbua 24 hours to report to the Police Headquarters or risk arrest.
Afegbua’s lawyers, in a statement released to Premium Times, have said their client cannot possibly be accused of any crime for discharging the duties assigned to him by his principal.
The statement read:
Mr. Afegbua is a well-known journalist and was a cabinet member of Edo State Government with a known address in Benin, Edo State and Abuja, yet he is not on notice of the police invitation whatsoever, before the purported publication declaring him wanted.
For the avoidance of doubt, there are spelt-out procedures for declaring a person wanted by the police. The police or other law enforcement agencies can declare a person wanted if they find reasons to do so, particularly if the person is a suspect in the commission of a crime and is on the run.
The public must know that our client, in discharging his duty to his principal, General Ibrahim Babangida, GCFR cannot by any stretch of the imagination be said to have committed a crime that warrants such negative publicity. Neither is he on the run.
Our client, however, remains undeterred by the desperate efforts of some individuals to intimidate him and bend his will and rights against the Constitution provisions, framework of Nigeria Police Force Act and the laws of the land.
The circumscription of his constitutional right to the dignity of self, freedom of expression and fair hearing denotes that there is a desperate attempt to scare him into submission.