Mr Kazeem Afegbua, spokesman to the former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida, declared wanted by the Police, on Wednesday, stormed the Force Headquarters in Abuja, in a style with a team of lawyers and some of his family members.
Afegbua, who arrived the Lious Edet Force Headquarters’ House around 10:32 a.m. in the company of a team of lawyers from Barrister Kayode Ajulo’s Castle of Law Firms, told newsmen that he was not a fugitive which was the reason he decided to show up.
Afegbua was declared wanted by the police over a statement he issued on behalf of his principal, General Ibrahim Babangida, on Sunday.
Afegbua and his team on their arrival could not meet with the Commissioner of Police in Charge of Legal of the Force, Mr David Ibogbodo, who was said to have gone to court on an official assignment.
Consequently, Afegbua waited for almost two hours and when the CP legal eventually arrived, he was reportedly joined by the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) monitoring Team, who, together with him attended to Afegbua in a relaxed atmosphere.
It was gathered that at the meeting which lasted about 15 minutes, Afegbua did not write any statement as expected, rather, the two officers reportedly apologised for declaring him wanted in the first instance and that it was a mixed up.
A source said that the two senior officers made it clear to Afegbua that he was not under arrest and that if the police had been able to get him on the phone to speak with him, the whole matter would not have been complicated as it turned out to be.
Earlier, Afegbua had spoken with newsmen where he registered his displeasure with the action of the police for declaring him wanted without extending an invitation letter to him and said that his legal team was already handling the matter.
Afegbua, who stated that he was still at loss as to how the police arrived at a decision to declare him a wanted man when he was very much around, disclosed that it was even his boss, General Babangida that called his attention to the police’s statement which declared him wanted and he demanded if he was a criminal.
According to him: “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 about it.
“My boss also asked if I was on the run and if I have been given an invitation and he said, okay, that is interesting. Who is complaining? He said he heard on the news that they talked about defamation of character, he said 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 fourteen years as his 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 about anything
“I am only here personally because I was declared wanted. I am not on the run, I am not a fugitive, 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 family members and my lawyer.
Speaking on the insinuation that the second statement was sent by a family member, and why IBB is yet to speak on it, Afegbua said: “If the 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 General Babangida by the special grace of God was a former President and his title is GCFR and not GCON. So, to me, the purported rebuttal is unnecessary.
On the N1billion suit he slammed on the Police, Afegbua said: “The laws of the land are very clear. When you declared somebody who is not a criminal or a fugitive wanted, you have not tried to arrest him, and he evaded arrest, 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.
“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 apologises, he said: that is secondary, when we get there, we will know.
After his few minutes with the two senior police officers, Afegbua disclosed that the session was cordially and devoided of any harassment, intimidation or ill feelings and that he did not write any statement when he was with them as envisaged in such a situation.
According to him, “the meeting was very brief and they told me that I was not under arrest, that there was a communication break down or a wanted man that the issue at stake would have been trashed out on the phone if they have gotten me, they apologised and I left the place.”