The Nigerian State Security Service, SSS has denied arresting an activist and author Chido Onumah on Sunday.
Mr Onumah was reportedly arrested by operatives of SSS on Sunday at the Abuja airport upon returning from a trip abroad. He was released five hours after.
After his released, he told a newspaper that his arrest was because of the inscription on the shirt he was wearing. The inscription was, ‘We are all Biafrans’, which is also the title of the book he wrote.
However, a statement issued on Monday by the spokesperson of SSS, Peter Afunanya, the service denied arresting the activist.
He was only engaged in an interaction during which an act of his capable of breaching public order and national security was explained, the statement said.
According to the service, “the Department of State Services (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. 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.
“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 that could have been discharged by a similar agency in any part of the world. It is not out of place for concerned security agencies to have sought clarification from a traveler concerning a subject of security interest.
“The DSS reaffirms its avowed commitment to the rule of law and protection of citizens and national critical assets.”