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Police, DSS Storm Igbo Leader’s Palace Over Threat To Invite IPOB Comments

Police, DSS Storm Igbo Leader’s Palace Over Threat To Invite IPOB Comments

Heavily armed policemen and officials of the Department of State Service, DSS, yesterday, stormed the residence of embattled Eze Ndigbo of Ajao Estate, Frederick Nwajagu, for the second time, after he was arrested last Friday, following a 49-second video shared on Twitter threatening to invite members of proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, to secure properties of Igbo people in Lagos.

Nwajagu was nabbed after a midnight raid by the Police and DSS operatives who arrived his palace in Ajao Estate but found that he had fled.

He was later traced to a hotel in Ejigbo, where he was apprehended.

Eyewitnesses said the policemen and DSS officials took him to State Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Department, SCIID, Panti, Yaba, where he was transferred to and detained since Friday.

They reportedly stormed his residence with two white pickups Hilux vans and heavily armed policemen for a search.

Vanguard gathered that they conducted thorough searches that lasted over four hours before going back to SCIID, Panti.

Eyewitnesses said Nwajagu, who was handcuffed led the policemen and DSS officials into his palace. It was learned that the security men left his palace without any visible incriminating evidence.

Police sources said Nwajagu was arrested following deep concerns over his statement that members of IPOB would be invited to Lagos if the destruction of properties belonging to his kinsmen continues.

It was gathered that security agencies and top government officials in Abuja and Lagos State were rattled by the statement Nwajagu made publicly, and the attendant response while it trended online, prompting the directive that he should be arrested and investigated.

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However, one of the sources said plans to either fly him to Abuja or take him straight to court after conducting a thorough search in his palace was hastily changed, following the inability of detectives to uncover any incriminating evidence in his house, yesterday.
“We have plans of even rounding up all the members of his cabinet in Ajoa Estate and anybody remotely or otherwise, connected with the volatile and provocative statement he made but it will depend on the outcome of our subsequent investigation,” the source said.
However, according to sources, investigations would continue while he remains in detention at the SCIID, Panti, Yaba, Lagos to ascertain whether his threat was real, deeply founded or a fluke, especially, when the Federal Government had proscribed IPOB while they still continue to operate in the South-East.

When Vanguard visited the palace of the Igbo leader, few minutes after the policemen left, neighbours that refused to be quoted expressed shock that the Igbo leader would be arrested after making the statement.

They revealed that he was not only a staunch member of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, but did nothing to help his people, during the elections while they were being threatened by hoodlums and thugs.

CSOs, others react

Meanwhile, reactions have continued to trail Nwajagu arrest. Some civil society organisations have described the arrest as “a misnomer,” arguing that similar threats had been made before without such persons being arrested.
While some argued that Nwajagu was capable of raising tension in the country, they maintained that his arrest was an indication of selective justice.

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For Executive Director, Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre, ULAAC, Mr. Okechukwu Nwagunma, “I have no problem with the Eze Igbo being arrested by DSS, if indeed, he threatened to invite IPOB to Lagos, but, we have a problem with the fact that hoodlums and political thugs, who issued threats and made good their threats by attacking Igbo people in Lagos over their electoral choices, have not been arrested. This is ethnic discrimination in law enforcement.”

On his part, the National Coordinator, the Network on Police Reform in Nigeria, NOPRIN, a network of 53 civil society organisations, Mr. Emmanuel Ikule, said: “Every country has its laws and there are acceptable and certain things and others that are not acceptable.

“For me, saying he would bring IPOB to secure his people, was wrong. However, the issue is that many people made threats. MC Oluomo and other persons had made threats and perfected it. On the day of the election, they tortured and threatened people.

“So, for me, it is not actually about obeying the law but doing it because the chief is more of an Igbo person. This is because if you want to go by the rule of law, then MC Oluomo and other persons should have been arrested first for inciting people. Leaving other persons to pick only one person means there is a misnomer.”

In the same vein, Dr Gerald Abonyi, who spoke on behalf of solicitors to the embattled Nwajagu, said they had sent a strongly worded appeal to Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Idowu Owohunwa for his release on administrative bail.

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He said his client has shown maximum cooperation with the police, having spent over 72 hours in custody and should be granted bail.

Investigation ongoing —Police

In his reaction, Lagos State Police spokesman, Benjamin Hundeyin told Vanguard, “We are not taking him to court yet. Anybody saying that is simply mischievous. Investigations are ongoing over the case.”

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