The Department of State Services (DSS) on Monday denied the allegations that it arrested a journalist and activist, Chido Onumah in Abuja airport.
Onumah was earlier reported to have been arrested at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International, Abuja on while returning to Nigeria from Spain, where he had obtained a PhD in communication studies.
In a statement signed by the Public Relations Officer, Peter Afunaya, the agency said that Onumah was only engaged in an interaction during which an act of his capable of undermining public order and national security was explained to him.
The statement reads, “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 the same cloth, the Service invited him and drew his attention to the implications of his probable (un)intended action,” the statement read in part.
According to the DSS, an attack on Onumah based on the inscription on his T-shirt 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 statement added.
The agency added that the interaction between Onumah and the Service was held in a convivial atmosphere and he even appreciated the courtesies extended to him after they arranged for Onumah to go back to his accommodation in town.
The Service said it simply 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 said.
Onumah is the author of a book titled, ‘We Are All Biafran.