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Afegbua to appear before police on Wednesday over controversial IBB statement
Jimoh Moshood, Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Police Force, says Kassim Afegbua, spokesman of Ibrahim Babangida, former military Head of State, remains wanted for “giving false statement, and defamation of character”.
Already, Kayode Ajulo, counsel to Afegbua, said his client would present himself to the police on Wednesday even though he was never invited before being declared wanted.
This is following the statement issued by Afegbua in Babangida’s name on Sunday. No sooner had Afegbua’s statement been published than another statement was also issued, purportedly by the same Babangida, disowning the initial statement.
Speaking to Channels Television, Moshood said Afegbua’s arrest was ordered by Ibrahim Idris, Inspector General of Police, because the statement he issued was capable of causing a breakdown of law and order.
“The Inspector General of Police has ordered his (Afegbua’s) arrest for giving false statement, making injurious falsehood and equally defamation of character or an act which is inimical to law and order in the country,” Moshood said.
Afegbua had insisted that Babangida “crosschecked” and “approved” the statement before he released it, but Moshood said he must report to the Force Headquarters and make his explanation official.
“We have not reached any conclusion because we have commenced an investigation into the matter and that is why he is wanted by the police to come and give explanation.
“There is no way we can conclude any investigation through the media; it is not done. And whatsoever Kassim said, let him come and tell us because we have opened up a case against him and he must come and provide answers to all the questions.”
Afegbua’s statement had quoted Babangida as saying that Nigeria needs a younger generation of leaders to take over the running of the country.
“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 a conduce environment to grow national economy both at the micro and macro levels,” the statement read in part.
“The next election in 2019 therefore presents us a unique opportunity to … provoke fresh leadership that would immediately begin the process of healing the wounds in the land and ensuring that the wishes and aspirations of the people are realized in building and sustaining national cohesion and consensus.”
However, the counter-statement issued minutes after the first one quoted Babangida as saying: “as former President and Statesman, I have unfettered channel of communication with the highest authorities without sensational public correspondence, therefore those views expressed over there are personal views of the writer”.
But Afegbua subsequently maintained that Babangida vetted and approved the statement he issued.
“I have been doing this job for about 14 years now,” Afegbua said, “and I have never issued a statement on behalf of the former head of state and he gave a rebuttal. I got authorisation and commitment from him (Babangida) before I issued the statement. It has been in process. He has called me to say that the statement still stands.”