DSS explains why Chido Onumah was detained

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The Department of State Services (DSS) has refuted reports that it arrested a journalist and activist, Chido Onumah in Abuja airport.

In a statement by its spokesperson, Peter Afunaya, the DSS explained 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 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 DSS spokesperson explained further that the interaction between Onumah and the Service was held in a convivial atmosphere and he even appreciated the courtesies extended to him.

The agency added that after the interaction it arranged for Onumah to go back to his accommodation in town.

“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 was on Sunday taken into DSS custody while returning to Nigeria from Spain, where he had obtained a PhD in communication studies.




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