The Department of State Service, DSS has explained that its interaction with the journalist, Dr. Chido Onumah did not amount to an arrest but rather was sparked by the fact that he wore a T-shirt with a Biafran inscription.
The DSS said that the T-shirt with the inscription “WE ARE ALL BIAFRANS” was capable of stoking ethnic tension and that it acted to protect Onumah from being the centre of the crisis.
The DSS in a statement issued by its spokesman, Dr. Peter Afunanya said that the journalist was given all the courtesies and following the interaction was transported to his accommodation.
GWG has not been able to confirm the details of the interaction with Onumah.
The DSS in its statement said:
“The Department of State Service (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 traveller concerning a subject of security interest.”