By Ayo Kehinde
The Media Adviser to a former military Head of State, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, IBB, Mr. Kassim Afegbua, who was a Monday declared wanted by the Inspector General of Police, IGP, for what the police regarded as ‘false information’ has sued the IGP and the Nigerian Police Force for N1b as damages.
Mr Afegbua had, in an indicting statement on the federal government he issued on behalf of the former Head of State, urged his compatriots to reject old, uninformed leaders for young, dynamic ones. IBB later denied the statement, which was signed by Afegbua on his behalf and issued another, watered down version and signed by him.
Undeterred, Afegbua stated that he stood by his statement, saying that IBB had called him to stand by him and that the later statement may have been issued by the general’s friends who considered the first statement confrontational.
Afegbua’ suit, FHC/ABJ/CS/129/2018, was filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday by his lawyers, asked for the restoration of his fundamental human rights breeched by the police declaration.
Below is his lawyer’s statement:
Our client, Prince Kassim Afegbua ‘s attention has just been drawn to a malicious news item on Nigeria Television Authority alleging that the Nigeria Police has declared him wanted over a statement he issued on behalf of former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, GCFR.
Prince Afegbua, is a well known journalist and was a cabinet member of Edo State Government with a known address in Benin, Edo State and Abuja, yet he is not on notice of the police invitation whatsoever, before the purported publication declaring him wanted.
For the avoidance of doubt, there are spelt-out procedures for declaring a person wanted by the Police. The Police or other law enforcement agencies can declare a person wanted if they find reasons to do so, particularly if the person is a suspect in the commission of a crime and is on the run.
The public must know that our client, in discharging his duty to his principal, General Ibrahim Babangida, GCFR cannot by any stretch of the imagination be said to have committed a crime that warrants such negative publicity. Neither is he on the run.
Our client, however, remains undeterred by the desperate efforts of some individuals to intimidate him and bend his will and rights against the Constitution provisions, framework of Nigeria Police Force Act and the laws of the land.
The circumscription of his constitutional right to the dignity of self, freedom of expression and fair hearing denotes that there is a desperate attempt to scare him into submission.
We have advised Prince Afegbua of his right and remedies available to him, as a law abiding citizen of NIgeria, he has elected to make himself available to the Police on Wednesday once he returns from his trip.
Dated 5th of February, 2018
Kayode Ajulo & Co. Castle of Law, Abuja-NIGERIA