DSS denies arresting Onumah, says he was invited for questioning
The Department of State Services (DSS) on Monday said it never arrested Dr Chido Onumah as being speculated in some sections of the media.
Dr Peter Afunanya, the Public Relations Officer of the Service in a statement in Abuja said the clarification followed media reports that Onumah was arrested by the service.
He said Onumah was rather engaged in an interaction on how his act could undermine public order and national security.
According to him, on his arrival at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport on Saturday, it was discovered that Onumah wore a T-shirt with inscription, “WE ARE ALL BIAFRANS”.
“With credible intelligence that he might be a subject of mob attack if allowed to go into town in the same cloth, the Service invited him and drew his attention to the implications of his probable (un)intended action.
“It was strongly believed that an attack on Onumah would have sparked ethnoreligious reprisals with dire consequences for law and order and public safety in the country.
“He understood the issues and pledged not to engage in activities that may cause disaffection in Abuja and the country at large,” he said.
Afunanya said Onumah subsequently, removed the cloth with the inciting symbols and inscriptions and agreed not to use it, adding that the interaction was held in a convivial atmosphere.
He said that Onumah appreciated the courtesies extended to him, adding that it was the service that arranged for him to go back to his accommodation in town.
“It is hoped that this clarification has dispelled the erroneous claims and reportage that he was arrested. The Service acted within the confines of its mandate and only carried out its routine security duty.
“It is not out of place for concerned security agencies to have sought clarification from a traveller concerning a subject of security interest,” he added.
He reaffirmed the commitment of the DSS to the rule of law and protection of citizens and national critical assets.
Onumah is a leading advocate for the protection of whistleblowers and the executive director, African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL) and the author of ”We Are All Biafrans”.
According to reports on Sunday, he was picked up at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport immediately he returned from Barcelona, Spain, where he had just successfully defended his PhD thesis.