Mr Kassim Afegbua, the spokesman for former Head of State, Ibrahim Babangida, has disclosed that he enjoyed the support of the former leader throughout his recent ordeal.
Afegbua was declared wanted on Monday by the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, through the Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood over a case of “injurious falsehood”.
This occurred a day after he issued a statement on behalf of the former president in which the former leader lamented the security situation in the country, the slow pace of the fight against corruption and urged incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari not to seek reelection in 2019.
Babangida reportedly issued a statement he personally signed, distancing himself from the first statement issued on his behalf by Afegbua.
However, in an interview with THISDAY, the former president confirmed the veracity of Afegbua’s statement.
In the confusion generated, the police authorities declared Afegbua wanted.
Speaking to reporters after visiting the police headquarters to honour an invitation extended to him on Wednesday, Afegbua said he enjoyed the support of his boss over the issue.
Afegbua, who visited the police headquarters in company of his lawyer, Kayode Ajulo, and family members met with Moshood in his office.
He said, “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 over it.
“He also asked if I was on the run and if I have been given invitation and he said, okay that is interesting. My boss said he heard on the news that they talked about defamation of character and he asked 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 14 years as 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 over anything.
“I am only here personally because I was declared wanted. I am not on the run; I am not a fugitive to the law, and 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 wife, other family members and my lawyer.”
Afegbua through his counsel had instituted a N1 billion fundamental rights enforcement suit against the police, police IG, police PRO, Channels Television, and Nigerian Television Authority (NTA).
While condemning the police for declaring him wanted without a formal invitation, he said he would seek advice from his legal team on the next line of action concerning the suit.
The police said there was a mix-up somewhere, to have warranted me being declared wanted, and they apologised.
“They said that the police is for the people; in a democracy it is their responsibility to be there for the people, not to intimidate, not to harass me.
“That they didn’t intend to harass me, they didn’t intend to intimidate me. Of course, you know we have a case in court, my lawyers will advise what steps we are going to take.”