Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), said on Friday that the Department of State Services lacked the powers to summon Mr. Kassim Afegbua for issuing a statement on behalf of a former Head of State, Gen. Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida which was critical of President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Afegbua, the spokesperson for Babangida, had on Sunday issued a statement on behalf of the former Head of State, urging Buhari not to seek re-election in 2019.
A statement attributed to Babangida later emerged on Sunday describing the earlier statement as Afegbua’s personal opinion.
But Babangida later reportedly said he stood by the original statement.
The police had invited Afegbua for interrogation.
He was released about two hours of meeting with police officers at the Force Headquarters in Abuja on Wednesday.
The DSS, otherwise known as the State Security Service, subsequently invited Afegbua for interrogation.But Falana, on Friday, demanded that the Director-General of the agency, Mr. Lawal Daura, be restrained from interrogating Afegbua.
“Mr. Daura should, therefore, be restrained by President Buhari from subjecting Mr. Afegbua to any form of interrogation and thereby violating his fundamental rights to personal liberty and fair hearing guaranteed by the Constitution,” he said.
He argued that Afegbua had not committed any offence to warrant the DSS to invite the former Head of State’s spokesperson.
He said, “Upon realising that Mr. Kassim Afegbua did not commit any offence known to law over the issuance of a press statement on behalf of the ex-military dictator, General Babangida, the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Idris Ibrahim, rightly decided not to press charges against the ‘suspect’.
“Thus, the decision of the Police Force ended the needless harassment of Mr. Afegbua.”
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