Kassim Afegbua, a longtime Spokesperson of former Military President, Ibrahim Babangida, has turned himself in two days after he was declared wanted by the Police on allegations that he made “false statements, injurious falsehood, defamation of character and for an act capable of inciting public disturbance throughout the country.”
Babangida had openly stated that he authorised the statement, which was critical of President Muhammadu Buhari, on Sunday night, but the Police moved against Afegbua nonetheless.
Afegbua arrived at the Force Headquarters in Abuja, accompanied by his lawyers and four journalists.
It was gathered that on Afegbua’s arrival, Police Officers were asking a man that had been declared wanted to introduce himself.
Afegbua told the Officers that he was declared wanted and some of them asked: “by who”?
He then said it was the Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, that made the announcement.
Some of the officers then asked if he was on an appointment, and his lawyer interjected that if Moshood was not ready to receive his client, “then everyone should go back home.”
It was at this point that the police started demanding that PREMIUM TIMES reporter’s phone be confiscated and he must not be “allowed to leave the building.”
When Afegbua arrived, he was interviewed by a battery of reporters near the parking area of the Police Headquarters.
But they were all prevented from following him into the building, leaving only a reporter to capture Afegbua’s move from the parking area into the reception.
Several officers, including two, whose uniforms identified as James Oyibo and Daniel James, demanded that the reporter must delete the video he had captured of Afegbua’s arrival and it took several minutes and explanations for the Police to understand the reason he was at their Headquarters.
“I insisted that I will not delete the video and they prevented me from going out of the reception,” the reporter said.
After delaying him for several minutes, he was asked to go after a female officer told the male officers that “He’s a PREMIUM TIMES press man.”
When approached about the development, Moshood said he could not immediately retrieve the reporter’s phone.
“All the reporters that came here with Kassim Afegbua today did not ask for my permission,” Moshood said. “So I don’t know how I could help for now.”
Moshood said the reporter was wrong to have taken his phone into the premises of the Force Headquarters, much less using the device to film activities inside.
“You should have dropped your phone at the gate and collect a tag,” Moshood said.
Nonetheless, he promised to help return the phone within a few minutes.
But after the reporter spent 20 minutes without seeing Moshood, he decided to return to the office.
Several calls and text messages to Moshood seeking the latest about the reporter’s phone were neither answered nor returned as at the time of filing this report.
The Police have been criticised for declaring Afegbua wanted following a contradictory statement that was released after the one he distributed to the media for Babangida.