The Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, has ordered the arrest of Kassim Afegbua, the media aide to former dictator Ibrahim Babangida, The Nation reports.
The order is reportedly in connection to the statement released and signed by Afegbua on behalf of Babangida.
In the statement, titled “Towards a National Rebirth,” Babangida had called on Nigerians to move on to a generation of new leaders, and do away with “analogue leaders.”
He had asked that President Muhammadu Buhari finish his tenure and give way to the next generation of leaders.
The statement had read:
In the fullness of our present realities, we need to cooperate with President Muhammadu Buhari to complete his term of office on May 29, 2019 and collectively prepare the way for new generation leaders to assume the mantle of leadership of the country.
While offering this advice, I speak as a stakeholder, former President, concerned Nigerian and a patriot who desires to see new paradigms in our shared commitment to get this country running.
While saying this also, I do not intend to deny President Buhari his inalienable right to vote and be voted for, but there comes a time in the life of a nation, when personal ambition should not override national interest.
This is the time for us to reinvent the wheel and tap into the resourcefulness of the younger generation, stimulate their entrepreneurial initiatives and provoke an environment conducive to growing national economy both at the micro and macro levels.
However, a statement was soon released after the first, which said the earlier statement was only Afegbua’s personal statement, adding that he had personal access to Buhari, and will not resort to open letters to address him. He said:
Let me categorically state that as a former President and statesman, I have unfettered access and channel of communication with the highest authorities in the country without necessarily going public with a sensational statement. Therefore, the views expressed in the alleged statement are not mine but the writer’s.
Afegbua, however, speaking to Channels TV, insisted that the statement was from his boss, and Babangida only released the second statement because people had sensationalised the first. He said:
I have been doing this job for 14 years now and I have never issued a statement on behalf of former President Babangida and get a rebuttal. I extracted commitment from him and authorisation before I issued the statement and it was in process but of course you know, IBB is for everyone and so people want to love him more than he loves himself.
When the statement was sent and some of his friends saw the twist of the reportage on the social media and how they sensationalised it and all of that, taking away the kernel of the content of the statement, they felt that we were just trying to put the former President on a collision course with the present President and so to that extent, they went to write a statement to deny that but I have since spoken to him.
He has called me to say that statement stands and the kernel of that statement should inform public discourse and not people necessarily personalising it as if it were against the sitting President.
According to The Nation, the IGP has ordered his arrest for issuing a fake statement.
A source who spoke to The Nation said Afegbua was asked to report to the Police Headquarters within 24 hours.