The Department of State Services (DSS) has denied reports that it arrested journalist and author, Dr. Chido Onumah, saying it only “interacted” with him.
According to the secret service, Onumah upon arrival at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, was found to be wearing a T-Shirt with the inscription, “We Are All Biafrans”.
The Public Relations Officer of the DSS, Dr. Peter Afunanya, who offered the clarification early Monday, said the consequence of allowing Onumah to enter the city dressed in the manner described above, would have better been imagined, considering its sensitivity.
The Department of State Service (DSS) wishes to make clarifications regarding media reports that Dr Chido Onumah was arrested by the Service. To set the records right, Onumah was never arrested by the Service. He was rather engaged in an interaction during which an act of his capable of undermining public order and national security was explained to him.
“On his arrival at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, on 29th September, 2019, it was discovered that Onumah wore a T-shirt with WE ARE ALL BIAFRANS inscription on it,” Afunanya said.
According to him, the “interaction” was also informed by the need to protect the writer from possible attack, occasioned by his disposition.
He further noted that, in the face of the multi-ethnic and muti-religious configurations of the country, a reprisal may not have been unlikely, thereby threatening national security.
Afunanya said: “With credible intelligence that he might be a subject of mob attack if allowed to go into town in 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 ethno-religious 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 subsequently removed the cloth with the inciting symbols and inscriptions and agreed not to use it.
“The interaction between Onumah and the Service held in a convivial atmosphere. He appreciated the courtesies extended to him. Afterwards, the Service arranged for him to go back to his accommodation in town.”